Crackled, colourless glaze on beige porcelain; with a flat lip and slightly convex rectangular foot; the two main sides with recessed convex panels; the interior unglazed Possibly Imperial, Jingdezhen, 17701800 Height: 6.15 cm Mouth/lip: 0.75/1.80 cm Stopper: malachite; stained ivory collar
Condition: Barely perceptible nibbles from inner lip; otherwise, kiln condition
Provenance: Carl Kempe, Stockholm Sotheby's, New York, 22 November 1988, lot 96
Published: Treasury 6, no. 1169
The creamy glaze here is deliberately crackled (the skilled control of crackle among potters was mastered by the Song dynasty at the latest). Some Chinese porcelain is mistakenly described as 'soft-paste', but the distinction between soft and hard paste is not one that applies to Chinese ceramics. It seems that the type of porcelain so often mistaken for soft paste is the result of a body or surface coating to the body being a beige material that makes underglaze pigments much easier to control. This coating also seems to encourage crackling and turn a colourless glaze slightly beige, which is the case here. The glaze itself is colourless.
The form of this piece is typical of Imperial porcelain bottles of the latter part of the Qianlong reign, but it might also have been made early in the Jiaqing period.