An extremely rare Chinese underglaze copper-red moon flask (bianhu), painted in the Ming style, each side with a bird perched on a flowering prunus branch above a bamboo spray, the shoulder and foot with a highly stylized wave pattern, the neck with further bamboo leaves, the base with a six character Qianlong seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period 1736-95. Damage to the neck. 26.5cm. Provenance: An English country collection for the last forty years. Cf. Christiaan J.A. Jorg, Chinese Ceramics in the Collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Ming and Qing dynasties, no.136, for a similar Qianlong flask of this design, also painted in underglaze copper red, where it is described as the only recorded example decorated with this design in copper red. A second example from the Qing Court Collection, in the Palace Museum, Beijing is illustrated by Geng Baochang, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Blue and White Porcelain and Underglaze Red (3), p.193, no.177. The 'moon flask' or 'pilgrim bottle originated in the early 15th century. This piece is a fine imitation in shape and decoration of such an antique underglaze blue piece, cf. R.Scott, no.61 and D. MacIntosh, Chinese blue and white porcelain, pl. XII. for the Ming prototype with a single bird in the Percival David Foundation.
Estimate: £15,000 - 25,000
Hammer Price £110,000