A Chinese Blanc de Chine figure of Guanyin with European cold decoration, last quarter of the 17th century, the decoration slightly later. Photo Bonhams
standing with a phoenix at her side and a scroll in her hand, decorated with black, green and red enamel colours, picked out in gilding, 40.5cm (the enamels flaking, the head fixed). Lot 89. Estimate: £500 - 800 / €610 - 970 / US$ 800 - 1,300
Provenance: The Busca Collection, Villa Serbelloni, Como, acquired in the 18th and 19th century,
By descent to the present owners
Notes: Blanc de Chine objects, not part of the main-stream VOC export cargos, appear in collections around Europe from the 1700s onwards. Blanc de Chine fragments have been found outside merchant's houses in Amsterdam, for example, but appear only rarely if at all on cargo lists. Cold-decorated Blanc de Chine figures as decoration for chinoiserie rooms appear in European castels as early as the late 18th century. For example, figures with European decoration, much in the same fashion as this figure, already appear in the inventories of Rosenborg Castle in Denmark and Schloss Favorite in Germany in the late 17th century.