A Rare Clair-De-Lune-Glazed Water Pot. Kangxi Six-Character Mark in Underglaze Blue and of The Period (1662-1722). photo Christie's Ltd 2011

Of compressed globular form with shallow indentation encircling the short neck, covered overall in a soft pale blue 'clair-de-lune' glaze, the base glazed white; 4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm.) diam. Estimate $200,000 - $300,000. Price Realized $362,500

Provenance: George Dunton Widener (d.1912) Collection, and thence by descent to the present owner.

Notes: The soft, gentle hue of clair-de-lune is one of the most treasured Qing glazes, and was reserved exclusively for Imperial porcelains. Clair-de-lune-glazed wares were made in the same eight ic shapes for the writing table, ba da ma, or 'Eight Great Numbers', as peachbloom-glazed wares, but are considerably more rare. For a discussion of these wares, see J. Ayers, "The 'Peachbloom' Wares of the Kangxi period (1662-1722)", T.O.C.S, 1999-2000, vol. 64, pp. 31-50, where a clair-de-lune water pot in the Baur Collection, is illustrated p. 48, fig. 36(R).

See the Kangxi-marked clair-de-lune water pot of identical shape, from the collection of Dr. and Mrs. William L. Corbin, sold in these rooms, 16-17 September 2010, lot 1408. Two Kangxi-marked clair-de-lune water pots were also sold at Sotheby's, New York, 15 September 1999, lot 84, and Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 November 1999, lot 339, where it is noted that four clair-de-lune water pots from the Widener Collection are now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., published in the Gallery's Systematic Catalogue, Decorative Arts, Part II, 1998, pp. 93-7. Other examples may be found in the Shanghai Museum, published in Kangxi Porcelain Ware from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1998, pl. 216; in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, illustrated by S. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989 rev. ed., pl. 240; one illustrated by J. Ayers in The Baur Collection, Geneva, Chinese Ceramics, vol. III, London, 1972, no. A319; and one in The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, illustrated by He Li in Chinese Ceramics: A New Comprehensive Survey, p. 279, no. 539.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I & II,  15 - 16 September 2011. New York, Rockefeller Plaza. www.christies.com