Previously sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 November 1982, lot 127, with the intricate inter-linked ruyi design illustrated on the front cover.
The meiping is exceptional for its extremely fine painting, small size and delicate potting with thin sides. Compared with other Yongzheng-period vases of this shape, the present example is especially striking for its broad shoulders, so that the top of the body is almost flat, unlike the sloping shape that is more often seen, an example of which is illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art, Chinese Ceramics IV, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 57.
The remarkably fine quality of painting on the present lot can be compared with that on the magnificent baluster 'peach' vase, previously from the J. M. Hu and Robert Chang Collections, sold in these Rooms, 31 October 2000, lot 815. The naturalistic depiction of fruits is also similar in style to that found on a Yongzheng-marked baluster vase with six sprays of fruit and flowers in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Commercial Press Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 78.
It is unusual that the present vase is decorated with eight fruiting sprays, tightly yet evenly, clustered together, where normally, on other Qing dynasty meiping of similar design, only six are depicted. A larger Yongzheng vase (33.3 cm. high) with a comparable design of eight sprays is in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, illustrated by He Li, Chinese Ceramics, A New Comprehensive Survey, New York, 1996, pl. 593. Compare also with another large vase (34.9 cm. high) with a Yongzheng mark and more widely spaced design of six fruiting and flowering sprays, included in the joint exhibition by the Nanjing Museum and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Qing Imperial Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1995, and illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 41; and another (29.5 cm. high), dated to the early 18th century, formerly from the collections of Mrs. Alfred Clark and Edward T. Chow, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 25 November 1980, lot 118.
The present vase compares more closely to several of its Ming prototypes. Its small size is reminiscent of the Yongle meiping vases which measure between 24.7 and 25 cm. in height, such as the examples in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in op. cit., (Part I), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Commercial Press Hong Kong, 2000, pls. 31 and 32. The composition of eight fruit clusters above a relatively wide lower lappet band, is very closely compared to that on a few large-size Yongle meiping, also illustrated ibid., pls. 29 and 30.
Cf. also other Ming vases of similar design: the Yongle meiping from the Chang Foundation, Taiwan, illustrated in Selected Chinese Ceramics from Han to Qing Dynasties, Taiwan, 1990, pl. 80; a pair illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, vol. 1, London, 1986, no. 624; and a Xuande vase from the National Palace Museum, Taibei, illustrated in Blue and White Ware of Ming Dynasty, Book II (Part 1), Hong Kong, 1963, pl. 1.