A rare Imperial ceremonial blue-glazed jar, zun, Qianlong six-character seal mark and of the period (1736-1795). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2014
The finely potted jar has a tapered body and rounded shoulder set with a pair of animal head handles, and is covered inside and out in a rich blue glaze that also covers the base and thins somewhat on the mouth rim. The seal mark is in relief and appears to be written in slip under the glaze. 10½ in. (26.5 cm.) high. Estimate $60,000 – $80,000. Price Realized $137,000
Provenance: K. R. Malcolm Collection.
Michael B. Weisbrod, Inc., New York.
Exhibited: The Oriental Ceramic Society, Arts of the Ch’ing Dynasty, London, 1964, no. 279.
Michael B. Weisbrod, Inc., Religion and Ritual in Chinese Art, New York, 1987, no. 45.
Monochrome ceremonial jars of this shape (zun) along with other vessel shapes, dou, gui, and fu, were made for use during ceremonies on the altars of various temples during the Qing dynasty. Margaret Medley discusses these vessels and their different monochrome colors in ‘The « Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Ch’ing Dynasty » in the Victoria and Albert Museum’, T.O.C.S., vol. 31, 1957-59, pp. 95-104. The vessels covered in a dark blue glaze, « symbolic of the Dome of Heaven, » were made for the Tiantan, Temple of Heaven, and Medley writes that zunwere the rarest, as only one was made for each altar. She notes that a dark blue example of the Qianlong period is in the British Museum, and mentions two others in the Salting Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum, one covered in iron red, made for the Chaoritan, Altar of the Sun, illustrated by Medley, pl. 41a, the other in a very pale blue, perhaps made for the Xiyuetan, Altar of the Moon, both illustrated by R. Kerr (ed.), Chinese Art and Design, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1991, pl. 88.
A blue-glazed Jiaqing-marked example in the Weishaupt Collection is illustrated by G. Avitable, From the Dragon’s Treasure, London, 1987, pp. 20-21, fig. 3, and another was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 20 May 2005, lot 1250.
Christie’s. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART, 18 – 19 September 2014, New York, Rockefeller Plaza.