Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A LARGE BLUE AND WHITE 'WINDSWEPT' JAR, GUAN
THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
A LARGE BLUE AND WHITE 'WINDSWEPT' JAR, GUAN

MING DYNASTY, MID-15TH CENTURY

Details
A LARGE BLUE AND WHITE 'WINDSWEPT' JAR, GUAN
MING DYNASTY, MID-15TH CENTURY
Of baluster form, skillfully painted in bright tones of underglaze blue in the 'windswept' style with two scenes of four warriors on horseback and another, dismounted, carrying a gift, in a setting with low rocks and bamboo, below a band of billowing clouds, with quatrefoil panels and lotus blossom sprays against a diaper ground on the shoulder, the inverted neck with a further classic border, the base encircled by a band of spume-flecked crashing waves
14½ in. (36.1 cm.) high

Lot Essay

The present jar belongs to a group of large blue and white jars and meiping of the 14th-16th centuries, depicting figures in landscapes and garden settings, that are taken from traditional literature and popular drama. The panoramic landscape scene is comparable to handscroll paintings of the early Ming period, although on the ceramic painting it required the joining of the scene at one side of the body by a series of stylized cloud scolls to bring about an element of continuity.

The two scenes depicted on this jar are taken from the San Guo Yan Yi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms), the famous Ming dynasty novel attributed to Luo Guanzhong and written around 1400. It shows on one side the warlord and the founder of the Wei Kingdom, Cao Cao, asking one of his men, Zhang Liao, to persuade the renowned military official Guan Yu to lend support to his cause. Zhang, however, is unwilling to break the 'Oath in the Peach Garden', which binds him to Cao's arch-rival Liu Bei, the founder of the Shu-Han Kingdom. The reverse depicts Zhang Liao with an attendant offering a present to Guan Yu.

Similar illustrations of this story appear on two other blue and white jars, including one formerly in the Matsuoka Museum of Art, Tokyo, illustrated by T. Nakano, The Panoramic Views of Chinese Patterns, Tokyo, 1985, pl. 51, and sold at Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 November 1973, lot 138; and another illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 14, Tokyo, 1976, pp. 228-30, in a chronological table showing the development of large jars painted with figure subjects originating in the Yuan dynasty. The present type is placed in the third group, attributed to the Xuande period (1426-1435). Together with this lot, all three jars have a similar diaper border at the neck but diaper or wave designs around the shoulder and foot. Nearly identical to the Matsuoka jar, the present lot has lotus sprays in panels on a diaper ground on the shoulder.

More from Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

View All
View All