A pair of polychrome enamel and underglaze blue wucai ‘garlic-head’ vases
Transitional Period, mid-17th century, China
明清更替期 17世紀中期 中國
Height: 35 cm, 13.8 inches
The flattened bulbous body is supported on a short foot below a tall narrowing neck, and ‘garlic-head’ shaped mouth. There are three bands of decoration against an iron-red fish scale ground – each divided by a blue horizontal double line. One side of each bulbous body depicts rockwork and grasses – in underglaze blue, iron red, and enamels of yellow and green. From this rockwork rises a magnolia – with turquoise green flowers and aubergine branches – against an irregular sky-blue ground. The opposite sides of each vase depict two birds in flight above rockwork and a flowering plant. The neck and mouth are similarly decorated with other flowers, including lotus – depicted in iron red, with leaves of underglaze blue and luminous green enamel. A contrasting spiral design in iron red decorates the base of the neck – between bands of underglaze blue.
The Complete Collection of the Treasures of the Palace Museum – Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, 1999 – no.123.