Vase in the form of an ancient bronze gu


Vase in the form of an ancient bronze gu



Mark: six-character mark daqing daoguang nianzhi (produced during the Daoguang period of the great Qing dynasty)

The flower vase with a flaring mouth and constricted waist is shaped like an ancient wine container known as gu, whose shape went back to pre-Bronze Age China. The all-over decoration of opaque overglaze polychrome is reminiscent of those seen on cloisonné pieces, and consists of borders of ruyi lappets and thunder pattern, enclosing the Eight Auspicious Buddhist symbols tied with ribbons, incorporated into a pattern of stylized lotus and foliate scroll. This gu-shaped vase actually formed part of five offering vessels commonly found on Chinese altars. They consist of an incense burner, two candlesticks, and two vases. Many such sets were made in the Qianlong period, and they continued to be made in the Daoguang period when the grandson of the Qianlong emperor was the ruler of China.
The Eight Auspicious symbols first made their appearance as decorations on celadons and blue-and-white porcelain vessels of the Yuan dynasty. Originating from India, these symbols were most possibly introduced to China during the Yuan dynasty by Anige, the famous Newari artist of Nepal. Anige went to Dadu (Beijing) on the recommendation of the Sakya lama Phagpa, and he worked for Kublai Khan for many years. After the Yuan dynasty, the Eight Auspicious symbols soon became popular motifs for decorating objects associated with Buddhist worship.

Sir D J Tata Collection


Chinese Art

Object Type



Porcelain with overglaze polychrome decoration against turquoise green ground (fencai)


Qing dynasty, Daoguang period






Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, China


H: 31cms. , Dia: 17 cms.