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14 mai 2024

A fine and rare ge-type cup, Qing dynasty, 18th century or earlier

A fine and rare ge-type cup, Qing dynasty, 18th century or earlier
A fine and rare ge-type cup, Qing dynasty, 18th century or earlier
A fine and rare ge-type cup, Qing dynasty, 18th century or earlier

Lot 17. Property from an important European collection. A fine and rare ge-type cup, Qing dynasty, 18th century or earlier; 8 cm. Lot Sold 5.461,000 HKD (Estimate 600,000 - 800,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2024

 

each potted with a flaring body rising from a tall spreading stem, decorated in shallow relief around the exterior with a pair of phoenix soaring amidst peony blooms, between a keyfret band at the rim and plantain leaves encircling the stem, covered overall in a white glaze, the inside of the hollowed-out stem incised with a horizontal six-character reign mark.

 

Provenance: Acquired from Edward T. Chow (1910-80) in the late 1960s.

NoteDeeply rooted in imperial wares of the Song and early Ming dynasties, this charming cup, covered with a stained crackle glaze, is a delight to hold and testifies to the continued celebration and reproduction of such wares centuries after the Song dynasty.

The official (guan) wares of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279) came in a wide range of appearances, ranging from green glazes with translucent crazing inside the glaze to opaque grey glazes with surface crazing that could be stained to form a contrasting darker web, as on the present cup. The latter were later distinguished from guan by the term ge and – like guan – were considered as one of the ‘five great wares of the Song dynasty’ (960-1279).

Rather than being a term distinguishing the wares of a special kiln, ge seems, however, to be a connoisseur’s term. The name derives from the term gege, literally ‘elder brother’, in reference to an anecdote that circulated in the Jiajing period (1522-1566) about a family of potters who lived in Chu prefecture, Zhejiang province. The elder brother, Zhang Shengyi, supposedly owned a kiln in the Longquan area during the Southern Song period. Perhaps these crackled wares were a speciality of his, but wares of ge type were not only made at Longquan, but also at other kilns, particularly the guan kilns at Laohudong in Hangzhou.

Attempts at reproducing the crackled ge-type glazes at kilns in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, began already in the early 15th century, and examples are known with Xuande (1426-1435) reign marks. The high Qing period saw a revival of old forms and glazes and among them, glazes of ge type. Official records from 1728 written by Tang Ying (1681-1756), the supervisor of the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen, describe the renewed interest in iron-rich glazes designed to imitate Song wares like Ru, guan and geGe-type wares of the Yongzheng period, made under Tang Ying, are particularly fine and come both with and without reign marks; both marked and unmarked pieces from the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, are illustrated in Selection of Ge Ware: The Palace Museum Collection and Archaeological Discoveries, Beijing, 2017, nos 131–140.

 

Sotheby'sAn Important European Collection of Chinese Ceramics - Acquired from Edward T. Chow, Hong Kong, 9 April 2024.

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