This elegant jar form appears in several variations among Qianlong enamelled wares. A very similar example, with slightly narrower base, is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, and illustrated in Splendors of China's Forbidden City, Field Museum, Chicago, 2004, p. 260, no. 336. A slightly larger hexagonal version, decorated with landscape panels reserved against a pink ground with floral scrolls, is in the National Palace Museum, illustrated in Enamel Ware in the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1999, p. 268, no. 147. A somewhat smaller version with the lower section lobed to form lotus petals, decorated with insects on a yellow ground, is in the same collection (illustrated ibid., pp 246-7, no. 130).
This precise design, using the same colours and identical details such as the textile design of butterfly roundels and paired peaches on a lattice ground, is known on rare, smaller, covered jars, like the pair, lot 20 of this sale, and the single Yongzheng and Qianlong examples in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei (illustrated in Enamel Ware in the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties, op. cit., p. 214, no. 108, and pp. 216-7, no. 109, respectively). However this taller vase form with the design is even more rare. The only significant decorative differences between the vase form and the jars, is that there is an additional turquoise band, similar to that on the neck, which encircles the flared foot of the larger vessel, and the latter also has a normal encircled blue four-character mark, in contrast to the interlocking circles on the jars.
The decoration on this vase incorporates a theme that was popular on both metal-bodied and porcelain vases in the 18th century - the depiction of decorative textiles apparently tied around the vessel. A Qianlong enamelled porcelain vase with a design of blossoming prunus branches from the Grandidier Collection, now in the Musée Guimet, has been painted as if tied with an elaborately knotted scarf in golden yellow patterned with carmine (The World's Great Collections - Oriental Ceramics Vol. 7 Mus/aee Guimet, Paris, Kodansha, Tokyo/New York/San Francisco, 1981, no. 189). Another enamelled porcelain vase in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, has been decorated in a style imitating cloisonné enamels and then painted as if tied around the widest point with a pink scarf bearing a darker pink pattern (see Kangxi Yongzheng Qianlong - Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Forbidden City Publishing/Woods Publishing, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 359, no. 40).
The decorative device of simulating the wrapping of a textile around vessels, can also be seen in cloisonné enamel wares. An example is the depiction of a patterned sash tied around two conjoined Qianlong vessels in the Palace Museum, Beijing (illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 43 - Metal-bodied Enamel Ware, Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 101, no. 98). This decorative technique seems to have first become popular in the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor. The Japanese lacquer style in which a box appeared to be tied up in a square cloth was much admired by the Yongzheng Emperor. Indeed in the 10th year of his reign (AD 1732) he received two boxes in this style and liked them so much that he ordered that another should be made (see Qing Legacies - The Sumptuous Art of Imperial Packaging, The Macau Museum of Art, 2000, p. 121, no. 43). The example exhibited in Macau is made to look as if all four corners of the cloth have been tied on top of the box. Perhaps closer to the kind of scarf-like ties seen on porcelain and enamel-on-metal vessels, is the tie around a red sandalwood box in the same exhibition (ibid., p. 119, no. 41), on which a textile wraps around the box in one direction. On this box the tie has been carved in wood and then covered with real silk cloth.
The depiction of a textile tied around a porcelain vessel even occurs in monochrome wares, such as the white gu-shaped vessel in the Palace Museum, Beijing (see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 37 - Monochrome Porcelain, Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 128, no. 117). There are also variants in which the vessel appears to be tied up with cord, either as a simple tie, like the Yongzheng celadon vase in the Baur Collection (see J. Ayers and M. Sato (eds.), Sekai toji zenshu - 15 - Qing, Shogakukan, Tokyo, 1983, p. 80, no. 88) or in a net-like design such as that on the Qianlong celadon jar in the Palace Museum (see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 37 - Monochrome Porcelain, op. cit., p. 155, no. 140).