The Golden Age of Art

To behold antique blue and white porcelain is to peer through a looking glass into China’s rich and bountiful cultural heritage. To this day, they remain not only the most beautiful, but also the most durable, of all types of porcelain, by virtue of immaculate production techniques passed down and refined by generations of artisans over the centuries.

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So valuable were these charismatic blue and white porcelain vessels that they served as the laurels of a successful life, amassed as one ascended the ladder of prosperity. As a result, antique blue and white porcelain have commanded the attention of an extensive audience throughout history, ranging from collectors, history-lovers and antiques traders to individuals searching for a decorative piece of unsurpassable beauty. Yet few custodians of this exquisite artifact can also claim to possess knowledge of the intangible history preserved with them: what insights into early modern China can we glean from the landscapes skillfully painted on its gleaming veneer?

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, collectors from all corners of the world were undivided in opinion as to the unrivaled beauty and sophistication of blue and white porcelain, which was produced during an artistic and cultural renaissance in China’s imperial history. The transition from the Ming to the Qing dynasty, which was more amenable to Western influences, also saw an evolution in many aspects of porcelain production, such as a diversification in the forms and functions of porcelain products, which included plates, bowls, vases and jardinieres– as exemplified by the 18th century-era blue and white porcelain jardiniere that crowns this auction’s catalog.

This rare and stunning specimen is wreathed in hand-painted landscapes. Though a passing glance may not be compelled to linger further on what first appears as an unremarkable composition, the vessel rewards leisurely contemplation, transporting the beholder into the rustic, daily rhythms of Chinese peasants, who are depicted fishing and farming rice against a bucolic backdrop of mountains and rivers. Wide at the source and tapering to a fine tip, the crisp and dynamic brushwork was produced by a large porcelain brush which, along with the throwing technique and distinctive domed shape of the vessel, is a hallmark of highly-coveted blue and white porcelain of the 18th century.

Another notable feature of this blue and white porcelain jardiniere is its uncommonly large size. With a volume purportedly equal to that of 1000 eggs, the largest within the sizing system used to categorize porcelain, and therefore designated as "Pan Gie" (as Pan is the Thai word for “one thousand”), jardinieres of this size demanded a monumental effort in production and transportation, with commissions taking years to complete. Before becoming antique, blue and white porcelain jardinieres already belonged to the highest echelon of luxury, as they were only affordable for elite and royalty.

An object of otherworldly beauty and provenance, this 18th century blue and white porcelain jardiniere is one of history’s timeless treasures.


Lot 161

A very rare and fine large blue and white porcelain jardiniere painted with a continuous scene of figures, riverside house, pavilion and mountainous landscape design

Style: Chinese

Age: 18th century

Size: Width 70 cm, Height 54 cm

Starting price: 80,000 THB

Estimate: 1,000,000 - 1,500,000 THB