A rare Ming-style blue and white 'three abundances' soft-paste vase, meiping  18th century
Lot 52
A rare Ming-style blue and white 'three abundances' soft-paste vase, meiping
18th century
£ 30,000 - 50,000
US$ 39,000 - 64,000

Fine Chinese Art

12 May 2016, 10:30 BST

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
A rare Ming-style blue and white 'three abundances' soft-paste vase, meiping
18th century
The ovoid body rising from a slightly splayed foot to broad shoulders, well painted in bright cobalt blue tones 'heaped and piled' effect, the body with alternating flowering and fruiting branches of pomegranate, citron and peach,'The Three Abundances', all above a band of upright lappets and beneath a ruyi fringe, the shoulders and foot with stylised floral blossoms on scrolling foliage, the neck with three floral sprays to the neck, the white body with craquelure throughout.
35.6cm (14in) high

Footnotes

  • 十八世紀 仿明青花三多折枝紋梅瓶

    The elegance of the branches and fruits depicted on this vase are reminiscent of designs found on meipings manufactured during the Yongle period. Similarly, the subtle use of the blue and white palette imitates the early Ming dynasty imported cobalt blue, high in iron content, that resulted in dark blue spots on the surface, also known as the 'heaping and piling' effect.

    Citrons (yuan 櫞) hints at the title conferred on the scholar who came first in the highest imperial examination (known as a zhuangyuan 狀元). Pomegranates (shiliu 石榴), symbolise progeny. The citron and pomegranate occurring with the lotus (lian 蓮), which is a homophone for 'continuously' (lian 連), underscore the blessing: 'May you have many sons who will continually come first in the Civil Service examinations' (duozi lianyuan 多子連元).

    The present vase contains further puns. The Buddha's Hand citron, which can be interchangeable with other citrons, together with the peach and pomegranate, are known collectively as 'The Three Abundances' (sanduo 三多), which express the wish for abundant blessings, long life, and many sons. Painted together with the wish-granting ruyi heads (ruyi 如意) on the border, the Three Abundances point to the added blessing of: 'May you also be blessed with the Nine Similitudes' (sanduo jiuru 三多九如), referring to the the felicitous wish, mentioned in the Classic of Poetry: 'May you be as the mountains and the hills, as the greater and the lesser heights, as the streams which flow in all directions, having constancy of the moon, like the rising sun, with the longevity of the Southern Mountain and the green luxuriance of the pine and cypress tress'.

    A related blue and white soft-paste meiping, Yongzheng, is illustrated by A.Du Boulay, The Taft Museum: Chinese Ceramics And Works of Art, New York, 1995, p.594.

    A blue and white porcelain meiping, Qianlong mark and period, sold at Christie's, Hong Kong, 27 November 2007, Lot 1686.
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