Chinese porcelain blue and white rouleau vase with cylindrical body, high shoulder, single-ribbed neck and galleried rim, painted with a battle scene from Sanguozhi Yanyi, “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, with equestrian warriors, swordsmen and bannermen approaching a rocky promontory in a continuous river landscape scene and three scholars amongst rockwork, the reverse with pine and wuti beneath clouds, the neck with bands of ruyi-heads, scrolls and key-fret.

17 1/4 inches, 42.8 cm high.

The base with a double ring in underglaze blue, Kangxi, circa 1690.

  • Formerly in the Weetman Dickinson Pearson Collection (1856-1927), 1st Viscount Cowdray, the famous oil industrialist and owner of the Pearson conglomerate, Liberal MP for Colchester (1895-1910) and keen philanthropist. His business extended to South America, where he was central to the expansion of Mexico City whilst undertaking other major works in both Ecuador and Colombia. His other business projects included building the Blackwall Tunnel in London and East River Tunnels in New York, as well as the discovery of one of the world’s largest oil fields in Mexico. In 1909, Lord Cowdray purchased Dunecht House, a stately mansion which he employed Ashton Webb to decorate and furnish and where this vase remained for over a century.
  • Included by Marchant in their catalogue Recent Acquisitions, Important Chinese Porcelain from Private Collections, 2012, no. 12, pp. 32-33.
  • Another, of related subject and heightened with copper-red, is illustrated by Wang Qingzheng in Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, 11, p. 18.
  • A similarly painted famille verte rouleau in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, bequest of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. J. Drucker-Fraser, is illustrated by Christiaan Jörg in Famille Verte, Chinese Porcelain in Green Enamels, no. 79, p. 79, where the author states “the scene is derived from the epic novel Sanguozhi Yanyi, “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, which describes the adventures of Liu Bei (A.D. 162-233), who tried to reunite the country after it had fallen into disarray following the fall of the Han dynasty. Together with his two sworn brothers, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, he waged war against the dictator Cao Cao, who had seized control of Northern China. The scene depicts the battle between Zhang Fei and his opponent Ma Chao at the Jiameng Pass”.
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