A FINE MAGNIFICENT BLUE AND WHITE ‘FLORAL SCROLL’ VASE, HU
A FINE MAGNIFICENT BLUE AND WHITE ‘FLORAL SCROLL’ VASE, HU
A FINE MAGNIFICENT BLUE AND WHITE ‘FLORAL SCROLL’ VASE, HU
A FINE MAGNIFICENT BLUE AND WHITE ‘FLORAL SCROLL’ VASE, HU
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A FINE MAGNIFICENT BLUE AND WHITE ‘FLORAL SCROLL’ VASE, HU

QIANLONG SEAL MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)

Details
A FINE MAGNIFICENT BLUE AND WHITE ‘FLORAL SCROLL’ VASE, HU
QIANLONG SEAL MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
The robustly potted vessel is finely painted around the bulbous lower section with large peony blooms borne on leafy meandering scrolls with smaller blooms and set between a band of pendant ruyi heads at the shoulder and turbulent waves at the base, the broad shoulders with a subtle indentation sweeping up to the flaring neck flanked by a pair of tubular lug handles, the wave band further repeated around the shoulders, mouth and handles, with two registers of lotus flowers filling out the decoration around the neck, each containing scrolling foliate vines punctuated by large blooms.
20 ¼ in. (51.5 cm.) high
Provenance
Sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 27 April 1993, lot 174
Sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 27 April 2003, lot 221
Property from an Asian collection
Sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 8 October 2006, lot 1074

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Priscilla Kong

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Lot Essay

This superb large vase typifies the finest quality of construction and underglaze blue decoration in the reign of one of the Qing dynasty's greatest patrons of the art, the Qianlong Emperor. It is remarkable that a vase of this size is preserved in such pristine condition. It is particularly desirable for its lustrous glaze surface and exceptionally brilliant cobalt blue tones.
The floral decoration found on the current vase is clearly inspired by the floral scrolls on early Ming porcelains with underglaze blue decoration. Not only are the forms of the floral scrolls similar, but the 18th century potters at the imperial kilns were at pains to try and imitate the 'heaped and piled' effect of the cobalt seen on early 15th century porcelains. Such 'heaped and piled' effects were natural when using the type of cobalt available in the early 15th century. However cobalt from a different source and enhanced preparation methods in the 18th century meant that if this effect was to be achieved on a Qianlong porcelain, it had to be painted on deliberately by the ceramic decorator, reflecting the painstaking effort the potters made in order to please the Emperor.
Qianlong vases of this design and size were made in two forms: the first one with straight necks, such as the two which are preserved in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing (illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 36 - Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red III, Hong Kong, 2000, pp. 144-5, nos. 130-131). The second form, like the current example, has a flared neck. Other identical examples include a pair sold at Christie’s London, 10 May 2011, lot 269; another, reputedly from the British Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 31 May 2010, lot 1907; a third sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30 May 2005, lot 1480; and a fourth included in the exhibition The Wonders of the Potter's Palette: Qing Ceramics from the Collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1984, no. 63. It has been suggested that the everted mouths of this latter group provided a pleasing balance to the vessels' strong, angular shoulders.
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