A fine peachbloom-glazed beehive waterpot, Kangxi six-character mark and of the period (1662-1722)



Lot 2924. A fine peachbloom-glazed beehive waterpot, Kangxi six-character mark and of the period (1662-1722);  4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm.) diamEstimate HKD 1,200,000 - HKD 1,800,000 (USD 160,000 - USD 230,000). Price Realised HKD 1,340,000 (USD 172,828). © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

The rounded sides rising to a short, slightly flaring neck, incised with three archaistic dragon roundels beneath a glaze of even, crushed strawberry tone suffused with mottled areas of copper-green, the rim, interior and base white, box.

ProvenancePreviously sold at Christie's New York, 6 June 1985, lot 441
Acquired from a private collection, Milan 

NotesWaterpots of this form are known as Taibai zun, after the Tang dynasty poet Li Bai (also named Li Taibai, 701-762) who is often depicted leaning against a large wine vat of this shape. They are also known as jichao zunbecause their shape resembles that of a basketwork chicken coop that is woven with a small opening at the top through which the chicks are fed. This form belongs to a group of vessels for the scholar's desk, known as the badama, 'Eight Great Numbers', which were specially devised in these classic forms to serve as requisite appointments for the Emperor's writing table, with the peachbloom glaze specifically used for these eight shapes.

Similar peachbloom waterpots are in various museums and collections worldwide, including the Percival David Foundation, illustrated in Earth, Fire and Water: Chinese Ceramic Technology, London, 1996, no. 24, p. 34; the Baur Collection, Catalogue, vol. III, Geneva, 1999, nos. A305, A310 and A313-A316; a full set of the eight vessels at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, illustrated by S. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, p. 237; the British Museum, Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, vol. 5, Tokyo, 1981, no. 230. 

Compare with a similar waterpot sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 3 December 2008, lot 2548; another of a smaller size (8.9 cm. diam.) was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 11 April 2008, lot 2907. 

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 30 November 2011, Hong Kong