A rare Chinese famille rose baluster vase and cover!
This rare yet exquisite Chinese famille rose vase is hard to date. The shape of this vase is typical of the production during the Yongzheng reign (1722-1735). The recessing of the body with the typical indentation just above the foot, are a trademark for baluster vases of this period. Some publications even link it to the imperial Beijing workshops active during this period.
This particular feature was not seen on pieces from earlier periods.
Equally typical for the period, is the abundant presence of overglaze enamel. And yet there is a small detail why we date this vase a tad bit later.
Looking at just two of the flowers highlighted in the above image, things may get clearer. The absence of the so typical extreme level of refinement in terms of flowers, is a clue to the initiation of a decline in quality in the workshops at the time of manufacture of this vase.
Despite this, it remains an absolutely magnificent highlight of Chinese export porcelain, dateable in the very earl years of the Qianlong reign (1736-1785).
A pair of nearly identical vases were sold at Sotheby's New York in 2012.
They did quite well and brought $200.000.
An interesting detail is to be found on the base of our present example.
The unglazed base bears a label inscribed 'Fürst Schönburg'.
This probably refers to the collection of Alois Eduard Fürst von Schönburg-Hartenstein, Austran Defence Minister for a short period in 1934. During the difficult years in between both World Wars, he was one of Austria's opponents of the pro-German national-socialism.
The Austran family von Schönburg-Hartenstein is part of the European high nobility and owned (and still owns) a number of important castles and estates across the continent. The most likely to have had this vase in its inventory is Castle Stein in the German municipality of Hartenstein.
Above are a few other examples of vases of similar shapes.
1) Cohen & Cohen, Londen
2) Christie's, Londen
3) Artron, Beijing