A fine doucai 'peaches and bats' bowl

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Lot 3034. A fine doucai 'peaches and bats' bowl, Mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 9.7 cm., 3 3/4  in. Estimate 2,800,000 - 3,500,000 HKDLot sold 3,400,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's 2013

the shallow rounded sides rising from a short straight foot, finely decorated around the exterior in underglaze-blue outlines and contrasted enamels with five bats fluttering through dense foliate and fruiting branches of peach, the bats detailed in shades of iron red and the veined leaves in various tones of green, the fruits picked out with touches of pale green, yellow and red, all between double-line borders at the rim and foot, the interior centred with a leafy peach spray, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character seal mark within double squares

PROVENANCE: A private French collection.

NOTE: The present finely painted doucai bowl is a rare showcase for how the Yongzheng potter has adapted and modified a much earlier, Ming dynasty, design to suit contemporary taste yet, at the same time, retaining much of the original flavour. The inspiration may be found in Chenghua mark and period bowls decorated with medallions of fruit and flowers in doucai enamels, the interior  delicately painted with a single fruiting branch and the base with a square six-character Chenghua mark, such as the piece included in the Special exhibition of Ch’eng-hua Porcelain Ware, 1465-1487, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2003, cat. no. 151. This bowl is also reminiscent of Chenghua mark and period doucai cups painted with fruiting peach branches; such as the seven pieces included ibid., cat. nos. 161-167, also with square Chenghua marks on the base.

During the Kangxi period, the Chenghua motif was further developed, as may be seen on a bowl in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Yeh Pei-Lang, Gems of the Doucai, Taipei, 1993, pl. 66, where the body is painted with a continuous band of flowering and fruiting peach branch. However, aesthetically the Kangxi design is not as delicate or attractive as that created by the Yongzheng artist.

For Yongzheng mark and period doucai bowls decorated with bats amongst fruiting peach branches see a pair sold in these rooms 10th April 2006, lot 1790; and another similar pair sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 13th November 1987, lot 485. A large fruiting peach tree, painted in a similar naturalistic manner as seen on the present bowl, features on a Yongzheng mark and period dish, from the Goldschmidt collection, sold in these rooms, 13th November 1990, lot 36; and on another dish sold in our New York rooms, 20th March 2007, lot 851.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. Hong Kong | 08 avr. 2013