Desmond Healey, Director and Head of Department, said: “We are delighted with this record breaking result. This is an exceptional Chinese work of art, preserved for centuries in exquisite condition, and was a very rare piece to come to the market.”
Dating from the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), the rare, and previously unrecorded, blue and white guan jar is finely decorated with a narrative scene in vibrant underglaze cobalt blue. The jar, which depicts scenes from contemporary literature, is thought to be one of only eight to have survived to the present day. Featuring a peony scroll band around the shoulders and a petal band around the base, the jar has vividly painted scenes from the story of the conflict between the states of Yan and Qi in the Warring States period (AD475-221). A figure in a cart, pulled by a tiger and a leopard, follows two foot soldiers running by a stream. Over the bridge is a scholarly figure on a piebald horse looking across a rocky landscape to another horseman. The jar was acquired in China by Captain Baron Haro van Hemert, a keen collector of art, who was in the Dutch Marine Corps, and was stationed in Beijing from 1913 to 1923.