Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A VERY RARE LARGE BLUE AND WHITE ‘DRAGON AND LOTUS’ VASE, TIANQIUPING
A VERY RARE LARGE BLUE AND WHITE ‘DRAGON AND LOTUS’ VASE, TIANQIUPING
A VERY RARE LARGE BLUE AND WHITE ‘DRAGON AND LOTUS’ VASE, TIANQIUPING
1 More
A VERY RARE LARGE BLUE AND WHITE ‘DRAGON AND LOTUS’ VASE, TIANQIUPING
4 More
Carrie H. (1859-1937) and Martin A. (1856-1932) Ryerson The son of the lumber merchant and real estate investor Martin L. Ryerson (1818–1887), Martin A. Ryerson was raised in Chicago and received his education in Europe and at Harvard Law School. Upon inheriting the family business at the age of 36, Ryerson became the wealthiest individual in Chicago.Ryerson served on the board of trustees at many institutions, including the University of Chicago, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Field Museum, as well as The Art Institute of Chicago, where he also served as the honorary president. With ample funds, dedication and an educated taste, Ryerson’s own collection included works from the old masters, French impressionist, American paintings and Asian art categories. He was known for his admiration for paintings by Claude Monet in particular, and he owned more than a dozen of his works. (Fig.1) When he passed away in 1932, the Ryerson Collection of paintings was already housed in four galleries at the The Art Institute of Chicago. The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at The Art Institute of Chicago also celebrate his legacy.
A VERY RARE LARGE BLUE AND WHITE ‘DRAGON AND LOTUS’ VASE, TIANQIUPING

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

Details
A VERY RARE LARGE BLUE AND WHITE ‘DRAGON AND LOTUS’ VASE, TIANQIUPING
QIANLONG SIX-CHARACTER SEAL MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
The sturdily potted vase has a globular body surmounted by a tall cylindrical neck and is vividly painted in deep cobalt blue with two five-clawed dragons writhing amidst a dense ground of lotus scroll, all below bands of waves and pendent ruyi heads at the mouth rim, and above upright lotus lappets at the foot.
24 ½ in. (62.3 cm.) high
Provenance
Carrie H. (1859-1937) and Martin A. (1856-1932) Ryerson Collection, Chicago.
The Art Institute of Chicago, accessioned in 1937.

Brought to you by

Olivia Hamilton (高麗娜)
Olivia Hamilton (高麗娜) Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Globular vases, or tianqiuping, of this massive size and superb quality are extremely rare. From the painting style, with its deliberate echo of the Ming 'heaping and piling' effect, and its globular form, it is clear that the present vase was produced as an appreciation of early Ming dynasty prototypes. The present vase may be compared to three Ming examples which are decorated with a single, backward-looking, three-clawed dragon: one bearing a six-character Xuande mark, illustrated in Sekai toji zenshu, Tokyo, 1976, vol. 14, p. 29, no. 19; an unmarked example dated to the Xuande period, from the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 34 - Blue and White with Underglaze Red (I), Hong Kong, 2000, p. 90, no. 87; and an unmarked example dated to the Xuande period from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Blue and White Ware of the Ming Dynasty, Book II (part I), Hong Kong, 1963, p. 26, no. 3.
While dragons are more usually depicted against a background of waves or clouds, the Qianlong reign saw a revival of dragons depicted amongst lotus scrolls, as on the current vase. Dragons had been painted with lotus scrolls in the early fifteenth century, for example, on the large flask in the Percival David Collection, currently on loan to the British Museum, and illustrated by R. Scott in Elegant Form and Harmonious Decoration - Four Dynasties of Jingdezhen Porcelain, London, 1992, p. 37, no. 24. Dragons among lotus scrolls reappear briefly on imperial porcelain in the Zhengde reign (see ibid., p. 71, no. 69), but the combination is rare in other periods. Linking the imperial five-clawed dragon with the symbols of purity (the lotus flowers) must have appealed to the Qianlong Emperor, since a number of fine imperial porcelains from his reign, such as the current vase, are decorated with this theme.
A very similar Qianlong blue and white tianqiuping of this design, but of slightly smaller size (59.7 cm.), was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 1 November 1999, lot 382, and was included in Sothebys Thirty Years in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2003, p. 247, no. 269. This vase was subsequently sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27 November 2007, lot 1688, and was included in Christies Twenty Years in Hong Kong, 1986-2006, Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 2006, p.135. A closely related vase of this shape and of comparable size, but decorated with three-clawed dragons above turbulent waves, from the Naval and Military Club Collection and the Jingguantang Collections, and illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art - Chinese Ceramics IV - Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1995, no. 72, was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 3 November 1996, lot 553. See, also, smaller tianqiuping from the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods where the dragons are depicted weaving through misty clouds, such as the Yongzheng-marked tianqiuping illustrated by J. Spencer in Chang Foundation Inaugural Catalogue, Taiwan, 1990, p. 54; and the Qianlong-marked example of the same design sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 29 October 2000, lot 4.

More from Chinese Art from The Art Institute of Chicago

View All
View All