LONDON - Tang - Qing, fourteen centuries of Chinese art, an amazing time span. China has given the world some great art from the early bronze age: sculpture, furniture, paintings, jade carving and porcelain manufacture. It is a sobering thought that the West could not make porcelain until the eighteenth century. With the present catalogue we have selected what we believe to be excellent examples of several periods: Tang pottery, Ming and Qing imperial porcelain, Chinese domestic-market porcelain of the Kangxi period and examples of export porcelain. in all fifty-eight pieces that our firm is proud to present to our clientele. Whenever I write the foreword to one of our catalogues, I feel fortunate to have spent a lifetime handling these beautiful and creative pieces. They have enabled four generations of the Marchant family to travel the world searching for these treasures and meeting kind and knowledgeable people who share our love and passion.
It is customary for me to mention some of the pieces that have particular personal appeal:
No. 2 Tang blue-splashed pouring vessel - the simple globular form and rare blue colour have great appeal.
No. 6 Cream-glazed Dingyao bowl - from a rare kiln, it is a fine example of crisp moulding.
No. 10 Longquan-celadon wine pot and cover - a rare and outstanding example of Ming celadon. My heart missed a beat on my first touch.
No. 12 Imperial blue and white Zhengde brush rest - whenever I visit the Percival David collection, so beautifully displayed in its special room at the British Museum, I am happy that from time to time Marchant can duplicate one of the pieces from the collection.
No. 18 Imperial blue and white Wanli stem cup - it is with pride we offer this remarkable piece as only one other is known.
No. 25 Imperial blue and white and copper red fish bowl - the contrast between the underglaze red and blue has great charm, with a typical wet-brush mark confirming an early Kangxi date.
No. 40 Massive famille rose vase and cover with a continuous scene of fishing families - the ultimate home should be a Chinese museum where it can stand alone and the public can enjoy the remarkable painting and the story it tells.
No. 43 Imperial Qianlong blue and white ewer and cover - standing with great dignity, it says I’m proud to be the Qianlong version of the early Ming forerunner.
No. 47 Imperial ge octagonal lobed brushwasher - my favourite piece as it has everything one could wish for in a classic Qing monochrome and would grace any collection.
No. 53 Large goose tureen - Marchant has never before had such a large and rare example.
Blue-splashed straw glazed-ground round pouring vessel. Tang dynasty, 618-906. Photo courtesy Marchant
with lipped rim and cylindrical short spout, the interior cream and amber. 11.5cm wide
Old Japanese wood fitted box.
• Formerly in a Japanese private collection.
• Exhibited at the Kawaii Minichua, Tokubetsuten, Special Exhibition, MOA Museum of Art, Japan, 2005, no. 35, p. 18.
• A similar multicoloured, blue splashed pouring vessel is illustrated by Tohru Toguri in Chinese Ceramics in the Toguri Collection, 1988, no. 23, p. 31, and three others of this form in blue, blue-splashed and green, amber and speckled straw glaze are illustrated by Margaret Medley in An Exhibition of Tang Sancai Pottery, selected from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, 1989, nos. 27-29, pp. 54/5.
• The result of thermoluminescence test certificate no. C113j27 Oxford Authentication Ltd. is consistent with the above dating.
Cream-glazed moulded dingyao conical bowl. Northern Song dynasty, 960-1234. Photo courtesy Marchant
with gilt metal rim and small circular foot rim, crisply moulded with four stylised flowerheads on a continuous scrolling branch with leaves and stems, encircling a flowerhead in the centre, all beneath a key-fret border, the exterior with characteristic tear marks. 15.5cm diameter.
• Formerly in the collection of James K. Wetherly, Colorado, USA.
• Sold by Shimojo Art Co. Ltd., Tokyo, circa 1980.
• A similar dish with four blossoms is illustrated in Selection of Ding Ware, The Palace Museum’s Collection and Archaeological Excavation, Beijing, 2012, pl. 68; another with three blossoms, is illustrated in White Porcelain of Dingyao, Nezu Institute of Fine Arts, 1983, no. 137, p. 78; a further example was sold by Sotheby’s New York in their auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 19-20th March 2013, no. 32, pp. 32/3; another example, in the Qing Court Collection, is illustrated in Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (I), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Beijing, no.54, p. 62.
Longquan celadon wine pot and cover, Early Ming dynasty, 14-15th century. Photo courtesy Marchant
carved on the globular body with flowerheads on a continuous leafy scrolling branch above lappets at the foot, the gate-form handle decorated on each side with a continuous branch of lingzhi scrolls supported with ‘s’-shape struts, the rectangular short curved spout decorated with scrolls, the domed cover incised with bands of scrolls, triangular diaper and leaf-form lappets, all beneath a bud finial. 22.3cm high.
Old Japanese wood box.
• Formerly in the collection of the Nobehara family, Osaka, Japan.
• A slightly later example without a cover is illustrated by William Willetts, Christopher Hooi and S. R. Parker in
Chinese Celadons and Other Related Wares in South East Asia, no. 250, pl. 206, pp. 254/5.
Chinese Imperial blue and white porcelain brushrest, The base with six-character mark of Zhengde within a double square and of the period, 1506-1521. Photo courtesy Marchant
in the form of five stylised mountain peaks on a ribbed rectangular integral base, painted on each side with an Arabic inscription in a round medallion on a scrolling ground repeated on the flat sides, the base in imitation of a wood stand with a continuous ruyi-head band, all on an unglazed biscuit foot rim. 19.8cm long, 13cm high.
• Sold by C. T. Loo & Co., New York and included in Exhibition of Chinese Arts, C. T. Loo and Co., 1941, no. 652.
• Sold by Sotheby’s London in their auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics, Bronzes and Works of Art, 11th December 1984, no. 346.
• From the collection of Robert H. Blumenfield, California.
• Sold by Christie’s New York in their auction of Auspicious Treasures for Scholars and Emperors from the Robert H. Blumenfield Collection, 22nd March 2012, no. 1270, pp. 108/9.
• The inscription is an Arabic proverb, Al-qalam aqbalu min kul shay’in, “The pen is above all else” (or “The pen is superior to all”).
• Another from the collection of Mrs C. G. Seligman was included by Prof. Angelo Spanio, Alberto Giuganino and Jean-Pierre Dubosc in The Exhibition of Chinese Art, Venice, 1954, no. 671, p. 182; another, formally in the collection of Louise Hawley Stone (1904-1997), is illustrated by Patricia F. Ferguson in Cobalt Treasures, The Bell Collection of Chinese Blue and White Porcelain, Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Canada, no. 1, p. 13; another, in The Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, is illustrated by Sir Harry Garner in Blue and White of The Middle Ming Period, The Oriental Ceramic Society, Volume 27, 1951-3, pl. 19b; a further example, in The British Museum, is illustrated by Jessica Harrison-Hall in Ming Ceramics in The British Museum, no. 8:4, pp. 193/4.
Imperial blue and white small stem cup, gao zu bei. The base with six-character mark of Wanli within a double ring in underglaze blue and of the period, 1573-1619. Photo courtesy Marchant
incised with nine white anhua mythical sea creatures, including a winged dragon, yilong, seahorse and turtle, on a swirling-wave ground above crested waves, the flared single-ribbed stem with rocks and waves, all beneath a ruyi-head band on the gently flared rim, the interior with nine Sanskrit lanca characters. 7.8cm high, 8cm diameter.
Meiji/Taisho silk holder.
• Formerly in an important Japanese private collection.
• Only one other appears to be recorded and is illustrated in The Catalogue of Famous Ming Porcelain from Japan and Taiwan, Ming Ci Ming Pin Tu Lu Jiajing, Longqing, Wanli, no. 82, and is also illustrated by Liu Liang-yu in Ming Official Wares, p. 281.
• Another of the Wanli period bearing six-character mark of Xuande is included by Margaret Medley in The illustrated Catalogue of Underglazed Blue and Copper-Red, 1976, Section 3, no. 601.
• This design is inspired by the Xuande mark and period prototype, an example is illustrated by Chin Hsiao-yi in Catalogue of The Special Exhibition of Selected Hsüan-te Imperial Porcelains of The Ming Dynasty, National Palace Museum, Taiwan, 1998, no. 73, pp. 200/1.
• The theme of mythical sea creatures and their origins is discussed by Liu Xiang in the Han dynasty book, Shan Hai Jing ‘Classic of the Seas and Mountains’, and is discussed by Jessica Harrison Hall in Ming Ceramics in The British Museum, 2001, no. 4:13, p. 128, where the author illustrates a larger Xuande mark and period stem cup of similar design.
Imperial blue and white and underglaze copper-red deep bowl, wan. The base with six-character mark of Kangxi within a double ring in underglaze blue and of the period, 1662-1722. Photo courtesy Marchant
with upright sides, painted in the well of the interior with a carp leaping from crested waves beneath the sun, amongst three lotus flowerheads and a prunus flowerhead, encircled by a wide band of two carp, crab, prawn, shells, arrow heads and aquatic plants on a stylised wave ground, beneath a further blue-ground crested wave band with copper-red prunus flowerheads at the rim, the exterior with three further carp and a mandarin fish on a wave ground amongst lotus and prunus flowerheads. 19.8cm diameter.
• Formerly in the O’Byrne collection.
• Exhibited at The Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition of The Animals in Chinese Art, 1968, no. 507.
• Sold by Sotheby’s London in their auction of Fine Ch’ing and Transitional Porcelain, 20th April 1971, no. 62.
• Formerly in the Sachot collection, France.
• A dish of this rare design in The Victoria and Albert Museum, W. G. Gulland bequest, C.355-1931, is illustrated by Rose Kerr in Chinese Ceramics, Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911, no. 55, p. 79, where the author notes, “It is painted with the leaping carp, a pattern with wide appeal owing to the association of the Chinese homophones for ‘abundance’ and ‘fish’. The reproductive powers of the fish may also explain its popularity as a peasant motif, while the jumping element is indicative of academic success. This is due to the story about the fish which swam up the Yellow river every year, and which on their way must leap up the dragon gate falls. Those that succeed in passing above the rapids are transformed into dragons.” Another dish of this design was included by Marchant in their exhibition of Seventeenth-Century Blue and White and Copper-Red and their Predecessors, 1997, no. 47, p. 49.
• A bowl of this form bearing a similarly written Kangxi mark is illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of The Palace Museum, Beijing, Volume 36, no. 68, p. 78, and is also illustrated by Chen Run Min in Qing Dynasty Shunzhi and Kangxi Period, Underglaze Blue Porcelain in The Gugong Museum Collection, Beijing, 2005, no. 125, p. 204.
Massive famille rose, fencai, baluster vase and cover, Yongzheng, 1723-1735. Photo courtesy Marchant
painted in a continuous scene with the lives of fishing families, with boats of ladies and children watching fishermen using nets from both land and a fishing boat, beside further boats with a lady breastfeeding and an elderly gentleman fanning a stove, looking on at five fishermen on a rocky promontory, eating, drinking and playing ‘rock paper scissors’, above further fishermen wading in water and reaching into large baskets; four further boats contain ladies and children cooking, resting and rowing, while a couple drink under a canopy; further vignette scenes of children playing with insects, elderly gentlemen supervising children at play, a lady holding an open fish basket and three fishermen carrying rope, basket and fishing rod, all above a band of lotus flowerheads on leafy scrolling branches and lotus flowers, leaves, peony, prunus and chrysanthemum, on a pink flowerhead cash band at the shoulder repeated on the cover rim, the neck with chrysanthemum and peony sprays, all beneath a gilt-topped finial, the base unglazed. 81cm total height.
European wood stand
• Formerly in the collection of Lady Jane Lane. The family estate in Staffordshire was sold in 1927 and Jane Lane’s parents moved to Mawnan Smith, outside Falmouth, Cornwall, where she was born.
• A dish of similar subject in The Metropolitan Museum of Art is illustrated by Yu Chunming in Zhong Guo Ming Pian, Ming Qing Wai Xiao Ci Tan Yuan Yu Shon Cang, in ‘The Chinese name card , Ming and Qing Export Ware, Researched and Collected’, 2011, Beijing, pl. 293, p. 195; and a related dish is illustrated by David S. Howard in The Choice of the Private Trader, 1994, no.41, pp. 64/5; a further dish is illustrated by William Motley in Cohen & Cohen’s catalogue Tiptoe Through The Tulipières, pl. 24, pp. 36/7.
Imperial blue and white ewer and cover. The base with six-character sealmark of Qianlong in underglaze blue and of the period, 1736-1795. Photo courtesy Marchant
with pear-shaped body painted in the Ming style with two octofoil panels enclosing fruiting peach and fruiting loquat berries respectively, on a ground of chrysanthemum, camellia, pomegranate and peony branches, beneath a wide band of lotus flowerheads on a continuous scrolling foliate branch, beneath a further band of stiff leaves at the neck, the lower section with a band of lappets above stylised scrolls on the foot, the strap handle with four lingzhi branches above three raised bosses, the spout with scrolls and leaves above lingzhi and ruyi-heads with blue-ground strut adjoining the body, the cover with three chrysanthemum flowerheads on a continuous scrolling leafy branch, beneath moulded lappets and ring finial. 29.5cm total height.
• Formerly in a French private collection.
• A similar example, from the Grandidier collection, no. 2687, in the Musée Guimet, Paris, is illustrated by Daisy Lion-Goldschmidt in Oriental Ceramics, The World’s Great Collections, Vol. 7, no. 178; another, in the National Place Museum, Taiwan, is included in The Illustrated Catalogue of Ch’ing Dynasty Porcelain, pl. 7; another is illustrated by Regina Krahl and John Ayers in Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum, Istanbul, Vol. III, no. 2565, p. 1106, and in colour p. 920; a further example is illustrated by Marchant in their Recent Acquisitions catalogue, 2009, no. 38, pp. 68/9; two further covered examples, one donated by Dr. K. S. Lo, is included in Ceramics from the Collection of The Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1984, no. 64, pp. 108/9, and an example in the British Museum is illustrated by John Ayers and Masahiko Sato in Sekei Toji Zenshu, Ceramic Art of the World, Volume 15, Qing Dynasty, no. 161, p. 152.
• This piece is inspired by the early Ming Yongle original, 1403-1424; an example from the Qing Court Collection is illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Beijing, vol. 36, no. 41, p. 43.
Imperial ge-type octagonal lobed brushwasher. The underside with six-character sealmark of Qianlong in underglaze blue and of the period, 1736-1795. Photo courtesy Marchant
with lipped rim on three short feet, covered in an even grey-crackled glaze extending over the interior and base, the feet dressed in brown. 21.3cm diameter.
Fitted double Japanese wood box.
• Formerly in the Endoh collection, Tokyo, Japan (by repute).
• A similar example was sold by Sotheby’s New York in their auction of Important Chinese Ceramics from the J.M. Hu Family Collection, 4th June 1985, no.65; and was later illustrated by Rosemary E. Scott in the exhibition of Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, Christie’s London, 2nd-14th June 1993, no. 62, pp. 136/7, and sold again by Christie’s Hong Kong in their auction of Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong, Imperial Wares from the Robert
Chang Collection, 2nd November 1999, no. 517.
• A guan-type example is illustrated by Regina Krahl in Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Volume II, no. 1801, pp. 350/1.
• A ru-type example from the collection of Nelson Elliot Bunker was included by Marchant in their exhibition of Imperial Porcelain of Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong, 1996, no. 32, pp. 50/1.
• The brown dressed feet are in veneration of the Song dynasty prototype.
Rouge-de-fer, grisaille and yellow-enamelled large goose tureen, Qianlong, 1736-1795. Photo courtesy Marchant
with detailed feather work in different tones of iron-red, speckled on the lower body and neck and moulded on the folded back wings and upright tail, the long beak, legs and feet in yellow enamel, the eyes and claws heightened in black, the interior white, the base unglazed. 35cm high, 35.5cm long, 23cm deep.
• Formerly in a European private collection.
• A similar goose tureen, from the collection of Mr and Mrs Rafi Y. Mottahedeh, is illustrated by David Howard and John Ayers in China for the West, Volume Two, no. 615, pp. 590/1, dated circa 1760-1780, where the authors note “Sizeable geese modelled at the Meissen factory by J. J. Kandler about the middle of the century show similar naturalistic modelling of the feathers and a general inspiration of this source is unmistakable. A more probable source for the invention of the tureens, however, is the Höchst Faience factory, patronised by the Elector of Mainz: various tureens were modelled here, possibly by G. S. Hess; but surviving examples are rare. In 1749 the factories’ Director Adam von Löwenfinck, left and joined the Strasbourg factory, where goose, turkey and woodcock tureens among others, were certainly modelled in Faience in 1750-1754, and in all probability under his guidance. These acquired wide renown, and they remain perhaps the most likely originals for the Chinese models. Chinese production of the tureens probably continued over two decades or more.”
• Another related example in The British Museum, given by Miss E. V. S. Carter, 1931, is illustrated by Douglas Barratt, Laurence Smith, Jessica Rawson and Roderick Whitfield in The Worlds’ Great Collections, Oriental Ceramics, Vol. 5, no. 47, col. pl. no. 47; and a further example in The Victoria and Albert Museum, collection nos. 72 & A-1884, is illustrated by Rose Kerr and Louisa E. Mengoni in Chinese Export Ceramics, no. 110, p. 79.