Named "The Flame" by an unknown connoisseur, this porcelain vase has a simple but elegant form that highlights the jewellike red glaze as it moves over the contours. Such deep red monochrome ware, known as langyao in China and as oxblood or sang-de-boeuf in the West, is most prized when the surface sparkles with a rich variety of reds enhanced by tiny bubbles and a fine overall crackle, as in this example. Chinese glazes owe their many colors to just a few minerals and their oxides. This red is derived from copper oxide, a notoriously difficult colorant to control, demonstrating the unsurpassed technical skill of Qing potters.
Henry Graves, Orange, New Jersey. J. Pierpont Morgan [1837-1913], New York. (Duveen Brothers, New York); sold 1915 to Peter A. B. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A. B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; gift 1942 to NGA.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, c. 1910-1911.
- Morgan 1904-1911, 2:85, no. 1352, pl. 137.
- Works of Art from the Widener Collection. Foreword by David Finley and John Walker. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 21.
- Bower, Virginia, Josephine Hadley Knapp, Stephen Little, and Robert Wilson Torchia. Decorative Arts, Part II: Far Eastern Ceramics and Paintings; Persian and Indian Rugs and Carpets. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1998: 50-51, color repro.
There is a consistent medium crackle overall, and a chip on the lip. A fine crack from the lip (4.5 cm long) shows old repair. Several glaze chips in the welt at the foot have also been repaired.