Lot 1114. A fine celadon-glazed carved beehive waterpot, Mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722). Estimate 2,000,000 — 3,000,000 HKD. Lot Sold 2,980,000 HKD (360,615 EUR). Photo: Sotheby's.
with gently inward curving sides supported on a countersunk base, the exterior delicately carved with billowing ruyi clouds rising upwards to wispy ends and small cloud swirls, evenly applied overall save for the base with a translucent pale green glaze thinning on the raised surfaces to enhance the decoration, the white base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark in three columns, wood stand; 7.5 cm, 3 in.
Provenance: Collection of Diana D. Ashcroft.
Sotheby's London, 17th November 1999, lot 772.
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 10th April 2006, lot 1607.
J.J. Lally & Co., New York.
Note: This graceful waterpot, with its restrained design of carved clouds that appear to billow out from under the cool celadon glaze, displays the Kangxi Emperor’s admiration for celebrated porcelain traditions of the past and reinventing them in a contemporary manner. Its delicate glaze is inspired by the fine celadon glazes produced at Longquan during the Song period, and the motif of wispy clouds was well known at Jingdezhen from as early as the Yuan dynasty. By applying sophisticated yet uncontrived designs to unassuming shapes, and taking the best works of the past as standards to aspire to, the potters active at Jingdezhen in the Kangxi period achieved a distinctive style of subdued elegance and refinement.
The companion piece to the present lot, also from the Diana D. Ashcroft collection, was sold in these rooms, 2nd May 2000, lot 609. Celadon-glazed waterpots of this type with Kangxi marks and of the period are also held in important museums and private collections worldwide; a closely related example in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 147, pl. 130; another in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is published in the Illustrated Catalogue of Ch'ing Dynasty Porcelain in the National Palace Museum. K'ang-hsi Ware and Yung-cheng Ware, Tokyo, 1980, pl. 58; one in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is illustrated in W.B. Honey, Later Chinese Porcelain, London, 1927, pl. 7a, from the Gulland Bequest; and a fourth example from the Sir Percival David Collection, now in the British Museum, London, is published in Margaret Medley, Illustrated Catalogue of Ming and Qing Monochrome Wares in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1989, pl. 583. Further examples were sold at auction; one sold in these rooms, 24th November 1987, lot 111; and a second sold in our New York rooms, 9th December 1987, lot 284; and a third from the collections of Jack Chia and T.T. Tsui, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 3rd November 1996, lot 565 and illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art. Chinese Ceramics IV. Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 2.
Waterpots of this form are also known covered overall in a white glaze, such as the waterpot in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, illustrated in The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics, vol. 14, Shanghai, 2000, pl. 127; and another sold in these rooms, 19th November 1986, lot 246. This elegant design of billowing clouds was also adapted for the doucai palette under the Yongzheng Emperor; for example, see a pair of waterpots illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1991, pl. 112.
Sotheby's. Chinese Art from Two American Private Collections, Hong Kong, 05 Apr 2017, 10:30 AM