The ceramic technique of using raised lines to provide outlines infilled with colour was first introduced in the Ming dynasty and came to be known as fahua. Only a small number of Qianlong pieces have survived, which are made in imitation of this distinctive type of ceramic, but using the famille rose palette. Of this group, most are jars, with the exception of a pair of vases and covers formerly in the Robert Chang Collection, illustrated in An Exhibition of Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, 2-14 June 1993, Catalogue No. 100. One of these was sold in these Rooms, 1 November 2004, lot 1145; and subsequently included in the 45th Anniversary Exhibition of the Min Chu Society, Auspicious Emblems, Chinese Cultural Treasures, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2005, no. 83.
The lotus pond was a particularly popular scene to be found on Ming fahua wares. For a Ming prototype of this vase, see the meiping in the British Museum, illustrated by J. Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics, London, 2001, no. 13:5, which has a lotus pond scene and criss-crossed beaded chains, similar to those found on the present baluster vase.
The Qianlong jars are also invariably decorated with this lotus pond design. Cf. a jar illustrated in Cloisonne Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 148; one formerly in the R. C. Bruce collection, illustrated by S. Jenyns, Later Chinese Porcelain, London, 1951, pl. CII; another in the Baur collection, illustrated by J. Ayers, The Baur Collection, vol. 4, Geneva, 1974, no. A634; a lidded jar, formerly in the J. T. Tai Foundation, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 21 May 1985, lot 26, and again at Sotheby's New York, 28 November 1994, lot 375, and illustrated in Selected Chinese Ceramics from Han to Qing Dynasties, the Chang Foundation, Taiwan, 1990, no. 166; and a pair of small lidded jars, sold in these Rooms, 30 May 2005, lot 1241.