Chinese porcelain 004

Exceptionally large Chinese blue and white “Dragoon Vase”, one of only eighteen of this model that were made.  [Wear to top rim. Lacking cover.]

The name “dragoon vase” or "soldier vase" reflects the curious history of the acquisition of this type of monumental porcelain.  In 1717, Augustus the Strong made a gift of 600 soldiers from his army to King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia, who formed the soldiers into a new regiment of dragoons.  In return, Augustus received from Friedrich Wilhelm 151 mostly large-scale vases and bowls from the Oranienburg and Charlottenburg palaces.  This was the era of mercenary soldiering, when the practice of selling and hiring out of troops was widespread, especially among German princes.  This was the case of the Hessians in the American War of Independence who were beaten by George Washington at Trenton.

Both this vase and the triple gourd vase are identical in form and decoration to vases that have remained in Dresden public collections.

Chinese, 18th century - Kangxi period (1662 – 1722)

Height (ins.): 36     
Origin: China     Period: Kangxi