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A wucai sleeve vase, Shunzhi period, circa 1645-1660. Estimate $12,000 – $18,000. Price Realized $75,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015

The vase is decorated on the exterior in underglaze blue and iron-red and yellow, green and aubergine glazes with four oblong cartouches each containing a spray of either chrysanthemum, peony, magnolia or crab apple, all beneath the waisted neck with fruiting branches bearing vibrant peaches and pomegranates. The flat base is unglazed. 15 in. (38.1 cm.) high – Lot 3545

Provenance: Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, London, 1987.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.

Literature: Michael Butler, Julia B. Curtis and Stephen Little, Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, Alexandria, 2002, pp. 142-143, no. 33.

Exhibited: Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, 2 May – 8 September 2002.
The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas, Texas, Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, 3 October 2002 – 5 January 2003.
University of Virginia Art Museum, Charlottesville, Virginia, Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, 25 January – 23 March 2003.

Notes: Dr. Julia Curtis notes in the above listed exhibition catalogue that the combination of the four flowers depicted in the panels on this vase form the rebus “Wealth and rank in the Jade Hall” (yu tang fu gui).(Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, Alexandria, VA, 2002, p. 142) She adds that the flowers are “a reference to the Hanlin Academy, an official body in Beijing open only to high-ranking scholar-officials; and the chrysanthemum, emblem of autumn, is associated with Tao Qian (Tao Yuanming; 365-427), who, following family tradition, held several official posts before retiring from the civil service to follow his true vocation, poetry. The floral decoration on this rolwagen reveals a preoccupation with scholarly concerns that animated the scholar-gentry and affluent merchants in the seventeenth century. These two groups composed the consumers of porcelains in the Shunzhi emperor’s reign.”

CHRISTIE’S. AN ERA OF INSPIRATION: 17TH-CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAINS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JULIA AND JOHN CURTIS, 16 March 2015,New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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