600 years ago the third Ming emperor reigned over China. His reign name was Yongle. An effective and refined despote, he promoted the Chinese culture and helped protecting China against foreign influences.
His preferred color was white. To please the Emperor the chemists developed during his reign a highly tactile white glazed porcelain known as tianbai meaning sweet white. It is particularly appealing with its glossy texture whiter than the bulk of its ceramics.
The emperor so enjoyed the purity of the tianbai that he rejected the presents in jade. It was a very difficult technique as evidenced by the high number of rejected fragments excavated in Jingdezhen compared with the extreme scarcity of surviving end item products.
The vase for sale has a baluster shape with high shoulder, short neck and small mouth. This shape is named meiping. Of course meiping was also popular in blue and white. A Yongle vase 36 cm high was sold for HK$ 168M including premium by Sotheby's on October 5, 2011.
The tianban meiping coming back for sale displays another exquisite refinement known as anhua meaning secret. Its body is incised with motifs of scrolls, lotus, blossoms and buds that remain invisible at a distance.
Hopefully this white auspicious vase will make the yongle of its new owner : Yongle means perpetual happiness in medieval Chinese.
SOLD for $ 3.13M including premium