A susancai figural brushrest, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period (1662-1722). Length 6 in., 15.3 cm. Photo Sotheby's

Provenance: Mallié & Co., Paris (according to label).

NoteA pictorially conceived display, this functional brushrest doubles as decorative tableau evoking the contemplative life of the scholar amidst nature. The ‘rock’ is echoed by a smaller version of the same within the basin planting or penzai. Calligraphy is referenced three times by the two brushes and the object's purpose as a brushrest, and the modeled ‘scholar’ represents an ideal, seated upright and alert. The surface is decoratively ‘splashed’ in Tang-style three-colored glazes adding an archaistic element.

Two others of the same model but with varying colors of sancai are known. One example, mounted on gilt ormolu was sold at Sotheby's Amsterdam, 2nd May 2005, lot 128 and the other is in the British Museum, London formerly in the collection of Henry Willets and gifted in 1896.

Sotheby's. Embracing Classic Chinese Culture: Kangxi Porcelain from the Jie Rui Tang Collection, New York, 14 march  2014