Gourd vase and lid
Vase, of double gourd shape with stopper, painted with a gourd vine in white shaded with blue on a marbled blue ground. This vase was made at a time when blue and white porcelain was out of fashion in China. Nevertheless, it displays a lively and imaginative sense of design, with the gourds in the decoration neatly echoing the overall form of the vase. The double-gourd shape is a traditional Chinese form not usually found in wares made for export, suggesting that this vase may have been intended for the domestic market. This shape has been long popular in porcelain, some particularly good examples being datable to the 16th century. In the Qianlong period (1736-1795), after a slight lapse in its popularity, it reappears in not only in blue and white but also in underglaze copper-red, a fine example being in the Rijksmuseum collection in Amsterdam.