Chinese porcelain blue and white bottle vase painted with Han Xin escaping at night on horseback, being pursued by Xiao He on horseback behind rocks and his cohorts, two holding torches, others with spears and a canopy, all in a continuous landscape scene with v-shape grass, rockwork, cloud banks and stars beneath a crescent moon, the shoulder with a band of flowerheads amongst scrolling foliage, with cylindrical neck and gently flared rim painted with a wide band of stylised flowerheads, leaves and precious objects, all between underglaze blue double lines.

13 3/8 inches, 34 cm high.

Transitional, Chongzhen, circa 1630-1640.

Provenance & Additional Information

  • Formerly in a Dutch private collection, and thence by descent.
  • The story is recorded in Sima Qian’s Shiji (Records of Grand History) and would have resonated strongly with many scholar-officials during the late Ming dynasty, who felt their talents to serve in the government were not being appreciated under the waning Ming Empire. In this scene, Han Xin was not impressed with his high superior Liu Bang, who had put him in charge of food supplies. He became so discontented that he attempted to flee under the cover of darkness. Xiao He, one of Liu Bang’s chief advisors, was aware of Han Xin’s talents. Once he heard that Han Xin had left, he immediately chased after him to bring him back, whereupon Han Xin was promoted to the rank of General and later together with Liu Bang founded the Han dynasty.
  • Similar subject matter is on a baluster vase illustrated in Seventeenth Century Chinese Porcelain from the Butler Family Collection, no. 37, p. 78 and on a brush pot sold by Bonham’s London in their auction of Fine Chinese Art, 9th November 2017, lot 281.
  • A smaller bottle vase of similar design from the Keralakis Collection was included by Marchant in their exhibition of Ming Blue and White: Jiajing-Chongzhen Including Dated Examples, 2004, no. 75, pp. 104/5.


Excellent condition.