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H.: 84 cm
Using funds from the imperial treasury, Wanli erected or restored many temple buildings, leading to an increased production of ritual and ceremonial pieces, altar vases for Buddhist worship within the imperial palaces and for donations to worthy Buddhist clerics. The extravagant and imposing size of the present lot, as well as the difficulty in firing sucessfully such a large vessel, suggests it was probably a special imperial commission for an important temple.
Alongside his patronage of Buddhism, the Wanli emperor was also a devout follower of Daoism. As a result, Buddhist furnishings frequently combined both Buddhist and Daoist imagery. This vase is an example of such blending; while the vase is clearly intended for Buddhist worship, the basket of flowers is the attribute of Lan Caihe, one of the Eight Immortals who grants immortality.
- A French private collection.
- The Musée Guimet in Paris, France, holds the twin brother of our current example, with accession number G 2289. This example was once part of one of Europe's leading collections, the 'Ernest Grandidier' collection. It is safe to assume that the vases were together at some point in the past. (see image nr. 7)
- Christie's, New York, Sept. 17, 2010, lot 1321, for a smaller blue and white example. (sold USD 92.500) (link)
- Sotheby's, New York, Sept. 12, 2018, lot 172, for a smaller example in wucai palette, with an estimate of USD 200.000 to 300.000. (link)