A Very Rare Celadon-Glazed Double-Gourd “Lotus Scroll” Vase, Seal Mark and Period of Qianlong. Photo Sotheby’s
the elegantly potted body with a globular lower bulb rising up to a waisted neck and a small compressed upper bulb, carved with stylised scrolls of lotus blossoms and covered overall with a pale sea-green glaze, flanked by a pair of elegantly curved handles moulded with a ruyi-head at each end, the neck encircled with a raised rib between two bands of horizontal elongated petal lappets, the recessed base inscribed in underglaze-blue with a six-character seal mark; 22.4 cm., 8 7/8 in. Estimation 3,000,000 — 4,000,000 HKD
EXPOSITION: Hosokawa Morisada Collection ten II – Shinno jiki, Persia no touki [Morisada Hosokawa Collection exhibition II – Qing porcelains and Persian ceramics], Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art, Kumamoto, 1993, cat. no. 65.
LITTERATURE: Sekai tōji zenshū / Collection of World’s Ceramics, vol. 12: Shinchou henfu Annan, Thai / Ch’ing Dynasty with a Supplement on Annamese Ceramics, Tokyo, 1956, pl. 92.
Yūzō Sugimura, Tōji taikei / Complete Collection of the Far Eastern Ceramics, vol. 46: Shin no kanyou / Fine Enamelled Ware of Official Kilns of Ching Dynasty, Tokyo, 1973, pl. 70.
Morisada Hosokawa, Mokumei goshiki: Shinchō jiki [Bewildering colours: Qing Dynasty porcelains], Tokyo, 1992, no. 13.
Striking for its elegant shape and carved decoration which emerges under a cool celadon glaze, this vase draws on celebrated porcelain traditions and reinterprets them to result in a rare and engaging piece. The form and decoration appear to derive from early Ming moonflasks (bianhu) painted with flower scrolls in underglaze blue which were revived during the Yongzheng reign and continued into the Qianlong period. A Qianlong vase of this type, but covered in a clair-de-lune glaze, from the Wah Kwong collection, was included in the exhibition Chʻing porcelain from the Wah Kwong Collection, The Art Gallery, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1974, cat. no. 15; and another was sold at Christie’s London, 12th June 1989, lot 35A. For the Yongzheng prototype to this vase, see one carved with a lotus scroll, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics, vol. 14, Shanghai, 1999, pl. 212, together with another decorated in doucai enamels, pl. 183.
The crisp celadon glaze that covers this vase further reveals the Qianlong emperor’s appreciation of past traditions including his admiration of Longquan celadon wares of the Song period. As a result, the emperor encouraged innovative approaches towards celadon glazes. The high quality of the raw materials and the advanced techniques developed at the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen during the 18th century allowed potters to develop different tones of celadon. Much admired by contemporary connoisseurs were the douqing, of a bright sea-green colour, and the present fengqing, a pale bluish-green glaze. When applied to finely carved pieces, the thinning and pooling of the glaze on the raised lines and the recesses create very attractive contrasting tones as seen on the present piece.
In the Qianlong period, several varieties of double gourd-shape vases were produced; see one potted with a flat base and decorated with a flower scroll in underglaze blue, included in the exhibition Ming and Ch’ing Porcelain from the Collection of the T.Y. Chao Family Foundation, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1978, cat. no. 88; and a tea-dust glaze vase of this form, from the J.M. Hu collection, sold in these rooms, 2nd October 2012, lot 107. See also a vase with a truncated lower bulb, carved with an archaistic scroll and covered in a celadon glaze, included in An Exhibition of Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, London, 1993, cat. no. 71.
Sotheby’s. Heirlooms of Chinese Art from the Hosokawa Clan. Hong Kong | 08 oct. 2014, 10:00 AM