Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai ovoid baluster vase with cylindrical flared neck, high shoulder and gently tapered body, painted with the equestrian figure of General Zhao Yun galloping with Liu Bei’s baby boy Liu Shan, dreaming of a dragon and tied to Zhao Yun while he tries to escape from Cao Cao’s army, who have him trapped on both sides, all amongst rockwork and wutong, with halberds and spears in the foreground, beneath a castle wall in the distance amongst iron-red clouds with Cao Cao between a dignitary and solider looking out, beside halberds and flags, the shoulder with lotus-flowerhead reserves in iron-red and yellow on a green flowerhead ground, the neck with lingzhi clouds amongst branches of pine and bamboo, between a crenulated and ruyi-head band at the rim.

17 ⅛ inches, 43.5 cm high.

Kangxi, circa 1700.


  • From an important French private collection.
  • Published by Marchant in their exhibition of Qing Porcelain from Private Collections, 2015, no. 11, pp. 22/3.
  • A famille verte, wucai baluster vase and a rouleau vase of this subject are illustrated by Wang Qingzheng in Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, nos. 124 & 126, pp. 190/1 & pp. 194/5.
  • A large famille verte, wucai dish with the same subject, the baby hidden under Zhao Yun’s clothing, bearing a Kangxi mark and a Johanneum inventory mark N=104, acquired on 6th April 1724 from the Voivode of Masuren, Chomentowski, is illustrated by Eva Ströber in La Maladie de Porcelaine, no. 27, pp. 68/9.
  • A vase of this form and similar subject is illustrated by He Li in Chinese Ceramics, A New Comprehensive Survey from the Asian Art Museum from San Francisco, no. 641, p. 301.
  • The subject is taken from a particular scene in the novel Romance of The Three Kingdoms, 220-280 CE, after the collapse of the Han Dynasty, when each King of The Three Kingdoms claims to be the legitimate successor to the Han Dyansty. In this scene, the trusted general of Liu Bei is trapped by Cao Cao’s army but manages to escape with his leader’s baby boy.
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