This elegant vase encapsulates the finest qualities of blue and white porcelains of the Yongzheng reign. It has a graceful shape, delicate painting and a decorative scheme that allows full appreciation of its pure, white porcelain body. This form is one of the very few in the Yongzheng porcelain repertoire that incorporates molded elements to give emphasis to the underglaze blue painted designs.
Vases of this type are very rare, but appear to have been made in two sizes. In the Palace Museum, Beijing, there is a smaller vase of this design from the Qing court collection illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 36 - Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (III), Hong Kong, 2000, p. 92, no. 78. This smaller version also has the molded petal band around the foot and the same painted decorative bands, but is of somewhat squatter shape with a shorter neck and less flared mouth. It is interesting to note that in order to emphasize the longer neck of the current vase the scrolling floral band around the shoulder has been extended and a white band has been inserted between this floral band and the overlapping plantain band above. This provides an even more pleasingly balanced design.
A vase of the same size, shape and decoration as the current example from the Jarras Collection was sold at Christie's, Hong Kong, 8 October 1990, lot 338. All three vases share even the smallest details of their decoration, down to the number of small circles reserved in white within each petal panel, and the small pale area in the center of each lappet. They also share the same choice of fruit and flower sprays in the main decorative band: the only difference being the relationship of the individual fruit and flower sprays. The upper band of floral sprays all appear to be in the same order, and the lower band of fruiting sprays seem to be in the same order. However, as they are arranged on the three vases, different flowers appear above different fruit.
This combination of fruiting and flowering sprays disposed around the main part of the vessel with plenty of fine white porcelain showing between the decorative elements is a reference to the fine imperial blue and white wares of the early 15th century. The painting style with its lively use of light and heavy brush strokes is also reminiscent of that much admired period. As on the 15th century pieces, the fruit depicted on the current vase have been chosen for their auspicious symbolism as well as for their aesthetic qualities. The peach symbolises the wish for longevity. The pomegranate symbolises the wish for many children, while the flowers are credited with the power to ward off evil. The melons are also symbolic of the wish for progeny.