Lot 184. A pair of wucai 'boys' baluster jars and covers, Kangxi period (1662-1722). Each 43.2cm (17in) high (4). stimate £10,000 - 15,000 (€12,000 - 18,000). Photo: Bonhams.
Each raised on a gently-tapered foot, the exterior decorated in vivid enamels with eight large peony blossoms evenly distributed in two bands reserved on a dense ground of green leafy scrolling tendrils highlighted with underglaze blue, the upper register separated by four boys holding stems canopied by smaller peony petals to the high shoulder, all beneath a band of stylised crackled-ice and upright stiff leaves to the straight neck, the covers similarly decorated with floral tendrils.
Note: Boys were a highly auspicious subject in China, representing wishes relating to fertility. Because of the homophonic nature of the Chinese language, images of boys holding lotus flowers formed the rebus 'continuation of generation', while boys holding blossoming peonies, such as in the present examples, emphasised the wish for family success and for sons to achieve a high social rank by passing the Imperial examinations.
Compare with a related wucai jar, also decorated with designs of boys at play, Kangxi, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 May 2012, lot 4097.
Bonhams. FINE CHINESE ART, 11 May 2017, 11:00 BST, LONDON, NEW BOND STREET