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A large sacrificial-blue glazed bottle vase, tianqiuping, Qianlong six-character seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1736-1795)Estimate HK$2,200,000 – HK$3,500,000 ($290,000 – $450,000). Price realized HK$3,160,000 ($409,233)Photo Christie’s Ltd 2014

The vase is of globular form rising to a tall, slightly flared, columnar neck. It is applied overall with a thick, vibrant and deep blue glaze. The interior and base of the vase are applied with a transparent glaze. 21 7/8 in. (55.5 cm.) high, Japanese wood box

Provenance: Budo Takashiro (1916-2008) acquired in Japan in the 1970s and thence by descent within the family


Budo Takashiro (1916-2008)

Notes: The present vase was in the collection of Mr. Budo Takashiro (1916-2008), who was a textile entrepreneur and a renowned Japanese collector of Impressionist, Western modern paintings, and Chinese works of art, and was mentioned in Aizo Benari, published by Naniwasha, 1965.

Compare to a similar example with this cobalt blue glaze included in the exhibition, The Wonders of the Potter’s Palette, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1984, no. 85. Another example with a less globular body is in the Baur Collection, Geneva, illustrated by J. Ayers and M. Sato in Sekai Toji Zenshu, Volume 15, Qing Dynasty, Tokyo, 1983, p. 199, no. 272. A third example is from the Nanjing Museum Collection, included in the exhibition, Qing Imperial Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1995, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 66.

The rich cobalt blue seen on the current vase is sometimes referred to as ‘sacrificial blue’. This name derives from the use of vessels bearing this coloured glaze during sacrifices at the Imperial Altar of Heaven in the Ming dynasty. However it has been noted that during the Qing dynasty these massive vases were made as part of decorative furnishings for the Palace.