A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period

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Lot 329
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu
Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period

US$ 400,000 - 600,000
£ 300,000 - 450,000
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF ROBERT P. YOUNGMAN
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu
Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
The finely potted vessel molded in low-relief with sinuous stylized interlaced dragons and scrolls on the elongated rounded body below a single bow-string band at the mid-neck and three wavy bands on the waisted upper-neck above six small molded ruyi-heads, the shoulder is divided on either side by animal-headed handles, the short waisted foot with a single wavy band between single bow-string bands.
20 1/8in (51.2cm) high

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 爐鈞釉雙耳壺 《大清乾隆年製》款

    This magnificent and finely molded vase under a brilliant rich 'robin's-egg' glaze that covers the entire exterior surface and the upper-half of the interior, is modelled after a Late Western Zhou Dynasty bronze vessel, hu, of a type illustrated by Christian Deydier, Chinese Bronzes, Friborg, Switzerland, 1980, p. 225, no. 64. Whilst that hu is of a more slender profile than our ceramic vessel, the cast decoration on the body and the neck appears to be identical. See also, William Watson, Ancient Chinese Bronzes, London 1976, no's. 52 and 53 for two other examples.

    This design on our hu is known from a small group of identically decorated Imperial Yongzheng and Qianlong-marked porcelain vessels of a smaller size (7 5/8in, 19.3cm) that are invariably glazed in a pale celadon-green glaze. For a Yongzheng-marked example in the Palace Museum, Beijing, see Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 276, no. 105. (See Fig. 1).

    The use of a 'robin's-egg' glaze on this style of vessel, with coiling serpent dragon design, appears to be unique.

    The other distinguishing feature of our vessel is the treatment of the handles. In all the published examples of the Imperial celadon-glazed hu that carry the same coiling serpent dragon design, the handles take a quite different dragon form, as can be seen in the Palace Museum example cited above. However, the identical handles on ours, can be found on a number of Imperial vessels, including a blue and white hu of near identical size in the Palace Museum Collection, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2010, p. 152, no. 138. (See fig. 2). They also appear on another identically-sized Imperial 'tea-dust' or 'Changguan' monochrome hu, illustrated in Monochrome Porcelain, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 270, no. 247. Like ours, it has an impressed Qianlong six-character seal mark. Interestingly on both these vessels the design is not the coiling serpent dragon design found on ours, but rather a quartered strapwork design that also imitates a Western Zhou bronze vessel. This same strapwork design appears on third celadon-glazed hu, sold at Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 11/12 May 1983, lot 123, which has the same handles that appear on our vessel.

    A smaller celadon-glazed example with the identical molded decoration of coiling serpents found on our vase and bearing a Qianlong seal mark from the Stephen Winkworth Collection is illustrated by Soame Jenyns, Later Chinese Porcelain, London, 1951, pl. C, no. 2, and later sold at Christie's, Hong Kong, The Imperial Sale, 27 May 2008, lot 1590. Another also from the Winkworth Collection was sold at Christie's, Hong Kong, 'Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong - Imperial Wares from the Robert Chang Collection, 2 November 1999, lot 504.

    For another Imperial porcelain vessel that follows an archaic bronze gu form, and that also uses 'robin's-egg' glaze in combination with gilt to imitate bronze patination, see Sotheby Parke Bernet, 21-22 May 1984, Hong Kong, lot 175.
Contacts
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
A magnificent and rare 'robin's-egg' glazed archaistic two-handled vase, hu Qianlong impressed six-character seal mark and of the period
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