A fine Blue and White 'Garden' yuhuchun vase. Seal Mark and Period of Qianlong. photo courtesy Sotheby's
well potted with a pear-shaped body, decorated in vivid cobalt-blue with a balustraded garden scene, planted with bamboo and plantain trees beside rocks, all set between pendent ruyi-heads and upright lappets, the waisted neck collared with scrolls and stylised plantain leaves rising to a trumpet mouth, the flared foot further decorated with lotus, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark; 29 cm., 11 1/2 in. Estimate 2,000,000—3,000,000 HKD. Lot Sold 2,420,000 HKD
PROVENANCE: Christie's Hong Kong, 30th May 2006, lot 1410.
NOTE: The present landscape design originated in the early Ming dynasty and this combination of motifs was popular amongst the literati for its auspicious meaning. Bamboo symbolises longevity, endurance and loyalty as it remains green in winter and does not break in the wind, while the plantain tree represents education. Classical legends tell the tale of a scholar who wrote on plantain leaves as he was too poor to afford any paper. Rocks symbolise durability and steadfastness and are associated with reliability and friendship.
For the prototype of this type of vase, see one attributed to the Yongle reign, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (I), Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 33; and another attributed to the Xuande period, also in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Ye Peilan, Appraising Ancient Chinese Ceramics, Taipei, 1994, pl. 83.
A closely related example in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated in Porcelain of the National Palace Museum. Blue and White Wares of the Ch'ing Dynasty, bk. II, Hong Kong, 1968, pl. 12; another in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is published in Zhongguo taci quanji, vol. 15, Shanghai, 2000, pl. 12; and a third example was sold in our New York rooms, 20th March 1976, lot 174, and again at Christie's New York, 17th September 2008, lot 459.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, 08 Oct 10 11:00 AM, Hong Kong www.sothebys.com