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465. Pair of Swirl Vases

China, Kangxi period (1662-1722)
Height: 26 cm

Provenance: - private collection, Germany
- with Vanderven Oriental Art (2002)

These elegant pear-shaped bottle vases have a bulbous body and slightly flared gilt-edged mouths. A bulge at the neck is decorated with four stylized gilded chrysanthemums -similar to a Japanese kiku emblem. Apart from the white neck ring, the vase is entirely decorated with spiralling stripes in a light iron-red colour edged by darker red lines.

Pear-shaped vases are among the most popular types of export porcelain during Kangxi period. This typical shape, with the bulge in the neck, is probably derived from Persian metal and ceramic models and appears in China from the early Transitional Style period (c.1635) onwards. What makes these vases particularly unusual, is the swirling striped pattern. This décor is possibly influenced by 17th-century Venetian latticino glassware, where opaque white enamel threads were applied to colorless glass vessels in a spiraling movement. The technique was well known in The Netherlands, brought over by immigrant craftsmen.

Similar vases are in the porcelain collection of Augustus the Strong (Dresden) and included in the 1721 inventory - confirming the Kangxi dating. Other examples can be found in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (Rotterdam), Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).

Literature:
Vanderven Oriental Art Kangxi Porcelain Catalogue 2013, no. 15

 

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