清雍正 青花纏枝花卉紋蒜頭大瓶 青花「大清雍正年製」篆書款
From the collection of Yoneo Sakai (1900-1978)
Yoneo Sakai (1900-1978) was one of Japan's most highly respected journalists and foreign correspondents. Born in Saga prefecture, he studied literature at Kansai Gakuin and Meiji Gakuin, and joined the Kokusai joho sha as an editor of motion pictures and drama (eiga to engi). He moved to San Francisco in 1926 where he contributed to Japanese language newspapers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. From 1931 he worked as a foreign correspondent for Asahi shimbun, covering the civil war in Spain in 1937, and traveling to Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Italy, Germany, Palestine and China from 1937 to 1939. He was interned at the Granada Relocation Center during World War II, and taught Japanese at the University of Colorado until 1948. In 1949 he and his family moved to Washington D.C., where he resumed his journalism career, working as a foreign correspondent for major newspapers, wire services and magazines in Japan during the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations until his death in 1978. He hosted a radio show, America dayori (News from America), where he interviewed Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Ernest Hemingway, and covered the Vietnam war during the Johnson and early Nixon administrations. He became a U.S. citizen in 1956.
Information courtesy of the UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library, Department of Special Collections.
This magnificent garlic-head vase is extraordinarily rare and the only other known example is in the Palace Museum, Beijing from the Qing Court Collection: see a very similar blue and white garlic-mouth vase, Yongzheng seal mark and of the period, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (III), Beijing, 2010, pl.93. The Qing Court Collection vase and the present lot demonstrate slight variations in the distinctive descending lappet band below the shoulder and in the choice of moulded decoration in the key-fret band below the neck. This form is further recorded by Geng Baochang in Ming Qing ciqi jianding, Hong Kong, 1993, p.236, fig.12.
This form and design continued onto the Qianlong period; compare a similar blue and white garlic-mouth vase, Qianlong seal mark and of the period, from the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated ibid., pl.121.
The present vase arguably encapsulates the very finest of imperial Yongzheng period porcelain production painted in underglaze blue and white. The relatively short Yongzheng period was a peak of innovation in form and refinement in design and execution. The garlic-mouth section of the vase is clearly inspired by early Ming dynasty blue and white moonflasks, bianhu of the Yongle and Xuande periods; the high-walled body is similar in shape to fishbowls; the wide shoulders would have been a necessity in combining the two former features; altogether accomplishing a striking and elegant form, creating a decorative canvas both around the imposing body, the wide shoulders and neck. The distinctiveness of the three main sections of the vessel, i.e. body, shoulders and neck, has been emphasised by the two moulded borders portioning the parts and decorative schemes, between the body and shoulders and the shoulders and neck, with the additional result of creating a further layer of three-dimensionality in the vessel.
The importance of the vase and intricate design is illustrated in the unusually large number of different borders 11 different bands (excluding the double lines). These like the garlic-head form, are inspired by Yuan and early Ming dynasty designs: the crashing waves can be seen on Yuan guan jars and Yongle flasks (showing related whirl designs), see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (I), Beijing, 2010, pls.5 (Yuan guan), 36 (Yongle flask); for a related composite floral scroll, painted with 12 main blooms, see ibid., pl.5 (Yongle flask); compare related floral scrolls below the rim of a blue and white zun, Yongle, illustrated ibid., pl.46; and a lotus scroll on the exterior of a Yongle shallow bowl, ibid., pl.55; see also the double-lined lobed lappets, illustrated ibid., pl.94 on a Xuande flask. However, the almost 'baroque like' border around the shoulders of alternating circular and lobed cartouches would appear to be a distinct innovation of the Yongzheng period and arguably a unique feature exclusive to this type of vase.
The decorative triumph of the vase and its design lies not only in the exceptional quality of the painting and extravagant design, but also in the 'negative space', allowing a breathing space to admire the various borders and importantly the lustrous glaze over the porcelain body, underlining the pure feat of successful firing of what is a highly complex form of imposing proportions.
The Yongzheng emperor with his aesthetic sensibility, assertive taste, demanding standards and personal interest and involvement in the arts, pushed them to unprecedented levels of refinement and sophistication. His era, though relatively short and certainly in comparison to those of his father and son, established the identity of what is perceived as Qing art, leaving little for his successors to develop, with his son the Qianlong emperor, concentrating on increasing the scale of production and ostentation and connecting himself with a patrimony that he had inherited; see R.Krahl in "The Yongzheng Emperor: Art Collector and Patron", E.S.Rawski and J.Rawson, eds., China: The Three Emperors 1662-1722, London, 2006, p.245. This innovative drive was made possible by the direction of Tang Ying (1682-1756) who became Vice Director of the Imperial Household Department, Neiwu fu upon the accession to the throne of the Yongzheng emperor. He was sent to Jingdezhen in 1726, starting a new era of porcelain production under imperial patronage, combining both archaic forms and designs as models for inspiration as well as developing new and fanciful ideas. The present vase is such an example of combining elements of earlier forms and designs to create a new innovative shape and elaborate yet highly refined decorative scheme.
以上部分研究資料由加州大學洛杉磯分校Charles E. Young研究圖書館特殊文獻部提供
Superbly potted with tapering sides rising to a steep shoulder, the waisted neck ending in a bulbous garlic mouth, the main body decorated with interlocking lotus, pomegranate, peony, camellia and seasonal flowers alternating in two tiers, brilliantly drawn with spiraling tendrils and resting between a band of stiff lappets and a frieze of classic waves, the shoulder exhibiting a chain of alternating flower heads encircled by circular and ruyi-head borders, above a band of twelve stylised lotus sprays and keyfret scrolls, the neck rendered with further interlocking lappets and downward ruyi-heads ending in a collar of interspersed circular flower heads with curly tendrils, all in various tones of rich cobalt blue above a slightly milky-white ground, the base with a six-character zhuanshu seal mark, wood stand.
55cm (21 5/8in) high (2).