A very fine and rare flambé-glazed bottle vase Incised Qianlong seal mark and of the period
Lot 31
A very fine and rare flambé-glazed bottle vase Incised Qianlong seal mark and of the period
Sold for £337,250 (US$ 566,517) inc. premium
Lot Details
A very fine and rare flambé-glazed bottle vase
Incised Qianlong seal mark and of the period
The rounded body raised on a low straight foot and tapering to the slender neck moulded with a double bowstring crowned by the bulbous garlic-shaped mouth, covered with a rich flambé glaze of a vibrant red streaked with darker patches and highlighted with lavender splashes around the body and at the mouth, the streaked glaze of a soft blue tone reaching into the interior and the underside with a thin café-au-lait glaze.
29.6cm (11 5/8in) high


  • Provenance: probably acquired by Leonard Cunliffe prior to 1918; Ida Copeland from 1937 and thence by descent to the current owner

    Two collectors' labels read 'TJ 66 L.DC' and '1848 L...' (handwriting indecipherable). A vase listed as 'TJ 66' and described as a 'Flambé bottle long neck with bulbous top. Kang hsi' is recorded in a catalogue handwritten by Leonard Cunliffe and signed 31 July 1918

    The inspiration for the flambé glaze can be traced back to the splashed Jun wares of the Song Dynasty. However this particular red glaze, derived from copper but also containing lead, was exceptionally unstable and difficult to control in the kiln, resulting in the highest failure rate of all Chinese glazes. It was not until an extraordinary technical mastery was developed during the Qing period, and the Qianlong reign in particular, that successful flambé-glazed porcelain could be produced, highlighting the exceptional quality and rarity of the present lot.

    Flambé-glazed vases were particularly admired by Western collectors and craftsmen, who appreciated the beauty of the deep red streaked with blue as well as the complexity of the technique and the immense control required to achieve successful results. Just as the present lot was most likely acquired by Leonard Cunliffe in the early 20th century, related flambé pieces quickly found their way into the homes of other renowned collectors, including George Eumorfopoulos (1863-1939) (see for example, the related but unmarked flambé vases illustrated by R.L.Hobson, The George Eumorfopoulos Collection Catalogue of the Chinese, Corean and Persian Pottery and Porcelain, Vol.5, London, 1927, E.393 and E.390, col.pl.LXVII) and George Salting (1835-1909), who bequeathed numerous pieces to the Victoria & Albert Museum; see, for example, the flambé vases, unmarked but dated to the Qianlong reign and of comparable quality to the present lot, V&A Museum nos.C.397-1910, C.404-1910, C.405-1910 and C.412-1910.

    See also a related flambé vase with an incised Qianlong mark and of the period in the Meiyintang Collection, illustrated by R.Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Vol.Four (II), London, 1994, no.1812.
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