A VERY RARE AND FINELY CARVED CELADON-GLAZED ‘DRAGON’ BOTTLE VASE
A VERY RARE AND FINELY CARVED CELADON-GLAZED ‘DRAGON’ BOTTLE VASE
A VERY RARE AND FINELY CARVED CELADON-GLAZED ‘DRAGON’ BOTTLE VASE
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A VERY RARE AND FINELY CARVED CELADON-GLAZED ‘DRAGON’ BOTTLE VASE
5 More
THE WANG XING LOU COLLECTION OF IMPERIAL QING DYNASTY PORCELAIN
A VERY RARE AND FINELY CARVED CELADON-GLAZED ‘DRAGON’ BOTTLE VASE

QIANLONG INCISED SIX-CHARACTER SEAL MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)

Details
A VERY RARE AND FINELY CARVED CELADON-GLAZED ‘DRAGON’ BOTTLE VASE
QIANLONG INCISED SIX-CHARACTER SEAL MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
The well-formed vase is magnificently carved in high relief with a large five-clawed dragon to the globular body, confronting a second dragon to the shoulder, with its long tail continuing to the long neck, all skilfully set amongst ruyi-shaped clouds and bats in flight. The whole vessel is applied with a translucent watery bluish-green glaze.
11 1⁄8 in. (28.3 cm.) high
Provenance
Collection of Arthur Rothwell, no. 39
Collection of Stephen Junkunc III (1904-1978)
Sold at Christie's New York, 21 September 1995, lot 241
S. Marchant & Son, London
Literature
Robert Jacobsen, Ye Peilan and Julian Thompson: Imperial Perfection.The Palace Porcelain of Three Chinese Emperors, Kangxi - Yongzheng - Qianlong, Hong Kong, 2004, pp. 190, no. 71
Exhibited
S. Marchant & Son, Imperial Porcelain of Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong, London, 1996, pp. 54-55, pl. 35.
On loan to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1997 - 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 belongs to a very small group of vessels from the Qianlong period with motifs brilliantly carved in high relief below a bluish-green celadon glaze. Celadon glaze has thousands of years of tradition in ceramic production and has never failed in winning the favour of connoisseurs. It is likely that the present vase was manufactured under the supervision of Tang Ying (1682-1756), who was assigned to oversee the Imperial kilns in Jingdezhen in 1728. It is recorded in Tang Ying’s Taocheng jishi bei (Commemorative Stele on Ceramic Production) that ‘a careful study of the shades of celadon glazes from the Longquan kiln’ was conducted. The superbly carved motifs combined with the lustrous translucent glaze on the present vase embodies the highest level of quality and craftsmanship achieved during the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods.

The quality carving of fine details, well-balanced composition and exquisite clear watery bluish-green glaze on the present vase make it incredibly rare. Only one identical example is known, in the National Palace Museum Collection (accession number guci 008481N000000000), with almost the same size, shape and design. It is illustrated in the museum’s official website: https://digitalarchive.npm.gov.tw/Antique/Content?uid=37345&Dept=U (fig. 1).

The style of the current vase is also comparable to the famous Qianlong celadon ‘dragon jar’ from the collection of Alfred Morrison (1821-97), Fonthill House, sold at Christie’s London, 18 October 1971, lot 51, and subsequently in the collection of the Idemitsu Museum, Tokyo, and sold again at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 8 October 2014, lot 1. Like the present vase, the ‘Fonthill dragon jar’ is also powerfully carved in high relief and the glaze is skillfully transmuting to a white on the outlines of the dragons and motifs. The likely pair to this jar was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 24-25 November 1987, lot 119.

Compare also to two Qianlong-marked celadon tianqiuping similarly carved with dragons and clouds, but of larger size (57.1 cm.) and with a broader neck, one from the Qing court collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum,Monochrome Porcelain, Commercial Press Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 137; the other sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 1 November 2004, lot 1141.

Other closely related examples include two Yongzheng large celadon basins similarly carved with dragons and clouds in high relief and of equally superb quality: one is in the Palace Museum collection, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of the Treasures of the Palace Museum, Monochrome, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 135, and another in the collection of the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in Zhou Lili, Collection from the Shanghai Museum: Qing Dynasty Imperial Porcelain from the Yongzheng to Xuantong Period, Shanghai, 2014, pl. 3-32. Although slightly different in shape, it is believed these two jars might form a pair.

The quality of the carving and the shape of the present vase can also be compared to a bottle vase with olive-green celadon-glazed from the Qianlong period, formerly in the collection of Ernst Oehlmer, now in the Roemer Museum, Hildesheim, Germany, illustrated by Ulrich Wiesner in Chinesisches Porzellan. Die Oehlm’sche Sammlung im Roemer-Museum Hildesheim, 1981, p. 156, no. 89. This vase is slightly larger (30 cm. high) and depicts a phoenix and dragon amongst clouds on a more bulbous body with a broader neck.

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