CATALOGUE NUMBERS 0339 & 0340
PAIR OF BLUE & WHITE GU-SHAPED SQUARE-SECTION BEAKER VASES
KANGXI PERIOD (1661-1722)
Height: 10 ¼ inches
Marchant, Ltd., London, 2001
A pair of blue and white gu shaped square vases, each painted on the central facets with terrace and interior scenes of ladies and gentlemen at various pursuits: lady watching a child at play, messenger delivering a letter to a lady, lady reading a letter attended by a maidservant, and lover kneeling before a lady as figure looks on, all beneath panels of flowering plants including lotus, chrysanthemum, prunus and peony and above morning glory, lily, camellia, and pink with birds flying above, the panels with toothed borders and the upright rim and foot with bands of lozenges, the base with naked lovers at a table. The form is inspired by an archaic bronze gu. The scenes are from the 9th century play, "The Romance of the Western Chamber" based on a novel by the Tang poet Yuan Zhen. The three characters depicted here are Yingying, daughter of a minister, her suitor Zhang Sheng, and her scheming maid, Hongning. The scene on each base would seem an appropriate adjunct to the story. It is interesting to see the brush, brush rest, inkstone, books, incense burner and vase with a single flower stem on the furniture, all items used by scholars. The scene on the bases is very rare, found on this type of vase and on slender baluster vases.