A Fine and Important Blue and White ‘Bajixiang’ Moonflask, Qianlong Period, 1736-1795
HKD 5,500,000 - 8,000,000
USD 705,128 - 1,025,641
H 50 ㎝.
PROVENANCE 1. Collection of Jean-Claude Moreau-Gobard, Paris, by repute 2. Collection of T. T. Tsui (1940-2010)
The body of this flask is well potted in flattened form with gently domed sides, rising from a splayed rectangular foot to a cylindrical neck flanked by a pair of scroll handles. It is brilliantly decorated with rich underglaze blue with simulated 'heaped and piled' effect. On each convex side, there are eight petals enclosing the (Eight Buddhist Emblems) Bajixiang, radiating from a central raised boss decorated with a stylised flower head, and divided by key-fret and lappet bands. The narrow sides are decorated with a band of stylized lotus scroll. The base is inscribed with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.
Being inspired by blue and white flasks in early Ming dynasty, the moon flask of the present lot is potted with gently domed sides, which in turn were inspired by early Islamic metal prototypes, see J.A.Pope, Aus der Welt der Islamischen Kunst: Festschrift für Ernst Kühnel, Berlin, 1959, pp.357-375. See also an example from Freer Gallery of Art, published in Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections, vol. 6, Tokyo, 1982, col. pl. 94.
A related blue and white moon flask with one flattened side of Yongle period is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (I), Shanghai, 2010, pls.34-37.
Similar Qianlong blue and white moon flasks of this size could be found in a number of museums and private collections. For example, see one included in the Blue and White Ware of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Porcelain in the National Palace Museum, vol. 2, Hong Kong, 1968, p.50, 51 and 15a-c; one from the Qing Court, now in the Shenyang Palace Museum, see The Prime Cultural Relics Collected by Shenyang Imperial Palace Museum: The Chinaware, vol. I, Shenyang, 2007, no. 35; another flask from the Nanjing Museum is published in Treasures in the Royalty: The Official Kiln Porcelain of The Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, p. 295; another, from the National Museum of China, illustrated in Studies of the Collection of the National Museum of China, Shanghai, 2007, pl. 83; a further example published in Chinese Ceramics in The Idemitsu Collection, Japan 1987, no. 94.
The present flask is exceptionally well potted without leaning to one side, which is a challenging shape to fire in perfectly straight form, making the moon flasks of this type very rare. Further examples sold in auction houses, see one from the collection of Edward T. Chow, was sold in Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 8 April 2011, lot 3123; another, from the collections of C.G. Sloan and Greenwald, was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1 December 2010, lot 2826; and a pair from the Skinner collection sold in Bonhams Hong Kong, 30 May 2017, lot 120.