The priceless Ming jar used as an umbrella stand
The owner always thought that this was an 18th century jar. Just a decorative object. It was in the hall being used as an umbrella stand.
I got in touch with the owner and she agreed to send the jar to London to be inspected in person.
Once it arrived, we were absolutely speechless and the more we studied it, the better it got.
Day by day we were getting more and more excited and then we realised we were actually handling an incredibly important piece of Chinese porcelain from the Ming Dynasty.
More specifically from the reign of the Xuande Emperor who reigned from 1426 to 1435.
It flows very extremely well and the body actually wraps all the way around looking at its tail.
The five claw dragon is a symbol of the Emperor whilst three claw dragons are a symbol of the prince.
So, as a five claw dragon this jar would have been made for a Xuande Emperor.
What is also typical about the Xuande period is the cross mark across some of the vessels because it’s very difficult to fire something so massive without having it collapse or explode in the kiln.
This jar, when it was fired, it would have been held on a setter that has a cross.
It is quite unusual because a lot of people who are copying it do not see bases or do not see the other side of what is not illustrated in a catalogue.
And what is also extraordinary about this jar is the four, the four pixiu, the four mythical beast heads right at the top here on its shoulder.
The four character mark reads [XXXX] which basically means made under the reign of the Xuande Emperor.
Porcelain created during that period is regarded amongst connoisseurs, amongst one of the finest ever made in China.
It is an incredibly expensive umbrella stand but this is the beauty of Chinese art.
Unless you have a little understanding of it you can walk it and not realise that it’s something incredibly important.
Published by: Christie's
Date published: 22.07.16