A rare large blue and white porcelain vase
Wanli mark and period
Height: 22 5/8 in, 57.5 cm
After an archaic bronze gu, with a conical lower section, a swollen waist, and a knopped and waisted neck that terminates in a waisted upright rim; the foot ring is broad and shallow, and the base slightly concave. The vessel is painted in underglaze blue with a frieze of flowers, rocks and butterflies above a band of prunus blossoms on a wave ground to the lower section; four baskets of flowers beneath cloud lappets around the waist; a flower scroll and a band of stiff leaves to the neck; and classic scroll to the mouth rim, interrupted by a cartouche painted with the six-character mark of the Wanli Emperor in a line, and of the period. The base is unglazed.
For similar wucai examples, see Ayers, Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, no. 171; Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours: The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, no. 34, p. 37; and Selected Masterpieces of the Matsuoka Museum of Art, no. 82.
Note also du Boulay, “The Summer Palace, Beijing 1900: An Inventory by Noel Du Boulay, Commandant 1900–1901”, fig. 5, a photograph showing a vase of similar form.