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A rare blue and white 'crane' vase. Ming dynasty, Jiajing period

the body of pear shape rising from a high spreading foot to a tall elegant waisted neck and flaring rim, painted around the exterior in rich cobalt-blue tones with geese in flight above lotus, all between a classic scroll at the base and foliate bands at the neck, the base with two-character inscription. 29cm., 11 3/8 in. Est. 3,000—5,000 GBP. Lot Sold 3,250 GBP

PROVENANCE: Sotheby's London, 14th December 1982, lot 181.

NOTE: The two-character mark on the base reads sisheng which means 'to meditate'.

The Jiajing Emperor was a devote Daoist and the present vase, with its auspicious imagery of flying cranes, was possibly made as a well-wishing gift for long life and success. Although it is rare to find Jiajing vases of this elegant bottle form, the decorative motif of flying cranes is typical of the Jiajing period and can be seen on vessels of other shapes; for example see a Jiajing mark and period lobed jar painted with cranes and phoenix, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 25th April 2004, lot 297; a cupstand with the design of cranes and clouds included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Tokyo National Museum. Chinese Ceramics II, Tokyo, 1990, cat. no. 105; and a large dish painted with flying cranes and the shou (longevity) character, published in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1987, pl. 706

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. 13 May 09. London www.sothebys.com