Of lobed and broad ovoid body, all raised from a short spreading foot, covered in an incandescent glaze of strawberry tone widely streaked in milky blue and purple draining from the outward-turned rim indented at the edges where the glaze pales to a light brown, the bases unglazed, height 12.2” — 31.1 cm.
Christie’s New York, March 24, 2011, lot 1753.
Private Toronto Collection.
With respect to Chinese porcelain, a flambé glaze refers to a rich reddishpurple coat of colour layered with lavender and milky-blue streaks. This spectacular glaze is the result of mixing elements such as copper, iron, cobalt, and titanium in a high-fired 1300-degree reduction inside the kiln. This ‘accidental beauty’ was first discovered during the Tang dynasty (618-
907) for phosphatic glazed earthenware, and was perfected on porcelain in the Yongzheng Period (1723-1735).
It was during the 18th Century that the Imperial Workshop was able to moderately control the quality of the flambé by spraying transparent glazes onto the layer of un-fired pigments, and also by adjusting the percentage of the porcelain’s clay body. The current pomegranate vases, with its wellmanipulated patterns and deep purplish tones, showcases the technical advancements in firing the flambé glaze, and its requirement of a highly experienced temperature control and material quality.