Previously sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 October 1995, lot 695.
The present ewer appears to be unique in its choice of the grapes motif decorating both sides of the ewer, as all known examples are decorated with differing fruiting branches within the quatrefoil panels. Known blue and white ewers are either decorated with a combination of loquats and peaches, or peaches and pomegranates. The former combination is a more frequently used design, and they include five examples: the first illustrated by T. Misugi, Chinese Porcelain Collections in the Near East, Topkapi and Ardebil, The Ardebil Shrine Collection, vol. III, p. 156, A.78; a ewer is in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in Underglaze Blue and Red, 1986, no. 42; in the History Museum of China, Beijing, illustrated in Zhongguo Meishu Quanji, vol. 3, Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 1988, no. 69; mounted with an Ottoman silver-gilt mounts of c. 1500, illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, vol. II, Yuan and Ming dynasty porcelains, 1986, p. 425, no. 618; and a ewer sold at Christie's London, 13 November 2001, lot 119.
The alternative fruiting branch design is the combination of peaches and pomegranates within panels. Cf. examples in the B.S.N. Niigata Hoso Museum, Japan, illustrated in Mayuyama, Seventy Years, vol. I, Tokyo, 1976, p. 245, no. 736; an example sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 18 March 1991, lot 520; and another sold at Christie's London, 15 November 1998, lot 56. A further example is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red, (I), Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 2000, p. 43, no.41, although only the peach side is published.
Two excavated examples dated to the Yongle period were included in the exhibition, Imperial Hongwu and Yongle Porcelain excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1996, p. 179, no. 58, decorated on both sides with peaches; and a ewer with loquats on one side and peaches on the other, p. 181, no. 59. The production of ewers of this type continued into the Xuande period, cf. a peach decorated ewer included in the exhibition, Imperial Porcelain of the Yongle and Xuande Periods, Excavated from the site of the Ming Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, Hong Kong, 1989, and illustrated in the Catalogue, p. 242, no. 80.