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A rare carved and moulded Turquoise-Glazed Archaistic Baluster Vase. Qianlong incised six-character sealmark and of the period (1736-1795). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010 

Of archaic bronze form, the rounded body finely carved and moulded on the shoulder with stylised clouds above a narrow band of C-scrolls, flanked on either side with a pair of dragon handles, the tapering body detailed with stylised cicada blades before a splayed foot decorated with keyfrets, repeated on the underside of the everted mouth rim, the waisted neck with four cartouches, each with a kui dragon within a keyfret border, covered overall with a vibrant turquoise glaze pooling to a darker tone in the recesses, reserving the foot ring unglazed; 11 3/4 in. (30.1 cm.) high, box  Estimate HK$2,800,000 - HK$3,500,000 ($362,169 - $452,712) Price Realized HK$11,860,000 ($1,533,502)

Notes: The present vase is a fine example of innovative glazes that were being developed during the Qianlong period and were applied to popular archaic shapes of early bronzes.

An identical vase from the Salting Bequest and now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is illustrated by R. Kerr, Chinese Ceramics, Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty 1644-1911, 1986, p. 17 no. 2. For a related unmarked vase of this glaze with elephant-head handles, dated to the Qianlong period, cf. Monochrome Porcelain, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Commerical Press, 1999, p. 167, no. 151; where it has been mentioned that turquoise glaze of the Qianlong period is particularly thin thereby the glaze itself often appears with a fine network of crackles.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 1 December 2010, Hong Kong www.christies.com