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A VERY RARE FLAMBÉ-GLAZED ZUN-FORM VASE
A VERY RARE FLAMBÉ-GLAZED ZUN-FORM VASE
A VERY RARE FLAMBÉ-GLAZED ZUN-FORM VASE
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PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
A VERY RARE FLAMBÉ-GLAZED ZUN-FORM VASE

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

Details
A VERY RARE FLAMBÉ-GLAZED ZUN-FORM VASE
QIANLONG SIX-CHARACTER INCISED SEAL MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
Glazed in imitation of Jun wares, the zun-form vase has a compressed body raised on a spreading pedestal foot encircled by two bow-string bands repeated at the base of the widely flared trumpet-shaped neck. The exterior is covered with a mottled glaze of deep crushed strawberry-red color subtly streaked in purple, and in milky blue that falls from the mushroom-colored rim, while the interior is covered with a streaked, milky blue glaze. A mottled caramel-brown and grey-green wash of glaze covers the interior of the foot and the base.
9 ½ in. (24 cm.) high

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Michael Bass

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Lot Essay

This rare vase, with its combination of glaze and shape, epitomizes the interest during the reigns of the Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors in wares being produced that referenced earlier periods. The flambé glaze represents the 18th century interpretation of the Jun glazes of the Song period, and the shape is an interpretation of early bronze zun of late Shang and early Western Zhou date.

One other porcelain vase of similar, but not identical zun shape, with Yongzheng mark, in the Seikado Bunko, Tokyo, is illustrated by J. Ayers and M. Sato in Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 15, Qing Dynasty, Tokyo, 1983, p. 201, pl. 281. (Fig. 1) Unlike the flambé glaze of the present vase, it is covered with a 'sky blue' glaze and has a dark brown dressing on the rim, imitating a different Song dynasty glaze, probably Guanyao. The shape of the vase, which is taller (34.5 cm.) than the present vase, and has a more bulbous body, is based on late Shang or Western Zhou dynasty bronze wine vessels (zun). The present vase, however, with its more compressed shape and somewhat angled shoulder is even closer in shape to the bronze prototypes, such as a zun in the British Museum (22 cm. high) illustrated by J. Rawson in Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, vol. IIB, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1990, p. 542, fig. 77.2. The present vase, and the Seikado Bunko vase, have both borrowed the decorative feature of double bow-string bands found on some of the bronze prototypes, but not the surface decoration, allowing the glaze and shape to be the main focus, which on the Seikado Bunko vase is accentuated by narrow flanges that project slightly on two sides of the body and foot.

Other early bronze vessel shapes were also combined with monochrome glazes during the 18th century, a number with flambé glazes, such as the Yongzheng hu-form vase with mock mask and ring handles illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art; Chinese Ceramics IV, Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 32, and the Qianlong gu-form vase in the Tokyo National Museum, illustrated ibid., Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 15, p. 201, 278, which, like the present vase, is decorated with a flambé glaze on the exterior and a milky blue glaze on the interior. This combination, as well as the mottled wash on the foot, is copied from Song dynasty Jun vessels, and can be seen on a number of the Jun vessels in the Qing Court Collection illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 32 - Porcelains of the Song Dynasty (I), Hong Kong 1996, pp. 16-38, which include zhadou (zun), flower pots, bulb bowls and washers. As with the present vase, the flared shape of the neck of a zhadou, no. 13, helps to emphasize the attractive contrast of the brighter glaze on the exterior and the paler glaze of the interior.

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