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A fine and rare ru-type beaker vase, gu, Qianlong seal mark and period. Estimate 100,000200,000 GBP. Photo Sotheby’s

of archaic bronze form, the central bulbous section supported on a splayed foot with constricted waist, rising to a wide trumpet neck flaring at the rim, the lower and middle sections divided by four vertical flanges, covered overall with an opaque greyish-blue glaze, the unglazed footring dressed in a brown wash, inscribed to the base with a six-character seal mark; 27.2cm., 10 ¾in.

PROVENANCE: Purchased by a European Vice Consul in Shanghai in the early 1940s.

Notes: Deceptively simple in design, vases of this form were produced with or without flanges and come in a variety of related glaze tones, some described as ‘­guan’, clair-de-lune, and others as ru. It is a fine example of the technical perfection achieved by craftsmen working at the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen. Monochrome vessels required the highest level of skill and precision in every stage of their production, from the purity of the clay and precision of the potting to the evenness of the glaze and control of the firing. The slightest irregularity would result in the rejection and destruction of the piece, thus pushing the craftsmen to the limits of their abilities, particularly in the production of large vessels such as the present. The subtle glaze has been created in imitation of ru ware, one of the ‘five great wares’ of the Song period (960-1279) along with Ding, ge, guan and Jun. It reflects the Qing emperors’ penchant for these early wares, which they not only collected but also commissioned the imperial kilns to recreate or imitate. Even the unglazed foot has been stained with a dark wash to simulate its predecessors.

Sotheby’s. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Londres | 05 nov. 2014, 10:00 AM