A Large Blue and White Yenyen Vase
China, Kangxi period (1662 – 1722)
Height: 45.5 cm
The trumpet shape neck and bulbous body are both decorated in vibrant underglaze blue with a characteristic Chinese landscape with a deer in the scene on the neck. This typical shape is known as “yen-yen” or “yan-yan”, a term possibly coined by traders in allusion to the vase’s beauty (yan).
The “yen-yen” derived from earlier Transitional period (1620 – 1683) versions that were more compressed, particularly in the lower section. The Kangxi versions were more elongated and better in proportion, making them highly desirable during in Europe for their size and decorative appearance.
During the Qianlong period (1736 – 1795), this type of vase was no longer produced, but it did make a revival during the nineteenth century copying the Kangxi originals.
A similarly decorated “yen-yen” vase with a deer is in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. A Transitional period vase is in the Butler Family Collection.
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