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Shang Vase

This vase is part of a pair that entered the Museum's collection in 1932, but slight differences in size and decoration indicate that they were made at different times although following the same design. This form of Bottle Vase appears in the Song Dynasty (960–1279) as an archaistic revival of ancient bronze vessels, and the design of flowers connected by a scrolling vine is an adaptation of a Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) pattern. The Qing imperial court looked back to the Song and the Ming as two of the greatest eras of ceramic production, and the combination of a Song form and Ming decorative patterns is a Qing homage to China's past as a source of artistic excellence.

Catalogue Description:
Curved mouth that flares out; long neck; oval body; slightly flaring circular foot. Cobalt-blue underglaze design, consisting of ocean wave patterns, similar to ruyi, banana leaf pattern, fret-scroll (huiwen), interlocking lotus flowers. Lotus flowers mean "qingbai lianjie," or "pure and honest." 6-character inscription: "Made during the Qianlong reign of the Great Qing." Unglazed base of foot-ring. Clear glaze covers rest of vase. Object for bestowing reward. Condition: Intact. Old Accession Card for 32.1032: Large bottle shaped vases with spreading feet of medium height, globular bodies with three raised ridges, a double one on the lower part of the shoulder, a single one in the middle of the shoulder, and another one at the base of the neck, and a tall neck, broad at the base, then tapering inwards and finally swelling again somewhat at the mouth. White glazed porcelain decorated on the foot with a leaf scroll border, just above that on the body with a border of false gadroons, then a broad band of peonies and leaf scrolls, and above that, between the raised ridges, ju i heads and more peonies and leaf scrolls. At the base of the neck is a fret border, with tall stiff leaves above. Beneath the mouth rim is a second ju i head border and a broad wave pattern. All these designs are painted in a dark rather dull underglaze blue, rather mottled and speckled. The inside and the base are glazed white, and on the base is a six character Ch'ien Lung seal mark in a rather misty underglaze blue.


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