• Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works  auction at Christies

    Sale 2196

    Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    15 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 426



    Price Realised  


    The lower and upper bulbs of the waisted body painted in tones of copper-red shading from rosy pink to yellowish-green and grey with an overall pattern of the coiled tendrils and leaves of a flowering vine bearing two small double gourds on the lower body, all between double line borders, raised on a slightly concave unglazed base
    5½ in. (14 cm.) high, box

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    Only one other vase of this very rare type in underglaze red appears to be published, from the collection of Edward T. Chow, sold at Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 19 May 1981, lot 541. Though catalogued as 17th century there is scholarly discussion that these vases actually date to the early Ming dynasty, Xuande period, early 15th century. The Chow vase, in fact, had previously been exhibited as Ming dynasty in the Exhibition of Chinese Ceramics, A Loan Exhibition of One Hundred Selected Masterpieces, Takashimaya, Osaka, 1961, no. 63.

    Similarly, an underglaze-blue version of this vase from the Sedgwick Collection, and now in the British Museum, was once dated by Soame Jenyns in Ming Pottery and Porcelain, London, 1953, pl. 53B as possibly 18th century. However, J. Harrison-Hall in Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, p. 131, dates the vase to the Xuande period. In the entry, Harrison-Hall mentions that although no double-gourd vases with this type of decoration have been excavated, shards of a water dropper and a bird cage accessory with this type of decoration and of gourd shape were excavated in 1993 in the Xuande strata at the Ming Imperial factory of Zhushan, Jingdezhen. Another blue and white example of this type is in the Palace Museum, Beijing. It was illustrated by Yasuhiko Mayuyama, Chugoku Bunbutsu Kenbun, 1948, pl. 26, where it is shown flanked by two blue and white Xuande-period flasks. It is dated, however, as Yongzheng period in Gugong cang zhuan-shi ciqi zhenyan duibi lidai guyao zhibiao ben tulu, Beijing 1998, p. 157 no. 139 (Fig. 1), where they compare it with another example from their collection (no. 138) of squatter form that they date to the Jiajing period, Ming dynasty.


    N.V. Hammer Collection.
    John D. Rockefeller III Collection, New York.
    Ralph M. Chait Galleries, New York, 1980.
    Private American collection.