A VERY RARE BLUE AND WHITE RIBBED ‘INDIAN LOTUS’ VASE
A VERY RARE BLUE AND WHITE RIBBED ‘INDIAN LOTUS’ VASE
A VERY RARE BLUE AND WHITE RIBBED ‘INDIAN LOTUS’ VASE
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A VERY RARE BLUE AND WHITE RIBBED ‘INDIAN LOTUS’ VASE
4 More
THE WANG XING LOU COLLECTION OF IMPERIAL QING DYNASTY PORCELAIN
A VERY RARE BLUE AND WHITE RIBBED ‘INDIAN LOTUS’ VASE

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

Details
A VERY RARE BLUE AND WHITE RIBBED ‘INDIAN LOTUS’ VASE
QIANLONG SIX-CHARACTER SEAL MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
The vase is moulded with sixteen lobes supported on a slightly flaring foot decorated with stylised lappets. The lobed body is decorated with large Indian lotus blossoms interlinked by scrolling tendrils. The elegant slender neck is decorated with crashing waves and flanked by a pair of tubular handles, each decorated with a flower head and scrolling leaves. The mouth rim is encircled by a band of keyfrets above ruyi-heads and suspending pendants.
11 1⁄8 in. (28.3 cm.) high
Provenance
Collection of Robert Yuen (1918-2005)
Sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 2 November 1999, lot 596
Literature
Robert Jacobsen, Ye Peilan and Julian Thompson: Imperial Perfection.The Palace Porcelain of Three Chinese Emperors, Kangxi - Yongzheng - Qianlong, Hong Kong, 2004, pp. 62, no. 17
Exhibited
On loan to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2003-2020

Brought to you by

Marco Almeida (安偉達)
Marco Almeida (安偉達) SVP, Senior International Specialist, Head of Department

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Lot Essay

The present vase, with its tubular-shaped handles, is inspired by a type of ritual bronze vessel from the Han dynasty known as ‘touhu’, or ‘arrow vase’, associated with an ancient drinking game which first became popular amongst elites during the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC), involving throwing arrows into the mouth of the vessel. During the following centuries, this game became more elaborate and applied with intricate rules and rituals, as described in the Touhu Yijie (Ceremonial Usages and Rules of Touhu), an illustrated manual written by Wang Ti (1490-1530). At first only played by elites, this game became equally popular amongst aristocrats, scholars and merchants in later centuries. In the famous late Ming novel Jin Ping Mei (Plum Blossom in the Golden Vase), the wealthy merchant Qing Ximen is described playing this game. For further discussion on this shape, see Jessica Harrison-Hall, Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001.

While earlier vessels of this shape were made in bronze and much larger in size, the present vase appears to be a development from Song dynasty ceramic vases. A pair of Longquan celadon-glazed arrow vases with tubular handles and rounded bodies were recovered from the tomb of the Yuan calligrapher Xian Yushu (1251-1302), see Zhang Yulan, "Hangzhoushi faxian Yuandai Xian Yushu mu," Wenwu, 1990:9, p. 24, figs. 11-12.

Although vases of this shape from the Qianlong period are known, it appears there is no other recorded example of this shape, size and design. The closest example is a Qianlong-marked blue and white vase of identical shape and similarly decorated with Indian lotus scrolls on the body, but of much larger size (41.2 cm.), and differently painted on the neck with a flowerhead on the handles with waves- the opposite arrangement to that on the present vase, in the National Palace Museum (accession number guci 012014N000000000), illustrated in the museum’s official website: https://digitalarchive.npm.gov.tw/Antique/Content?uid=37794&Dept=U (fig. 1)

A guan-type glazed bottle vase of the same shape from the Yongzheng period was sold at Christie’s London, 10 May 2011, lot 313. Another related guan-type Qianlong vase was sold at Christie’s Paris, 14 June 2006, lot 365. A similar vase with teadust glaze was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 29 April 2002, lot 670.
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