A peachbloom-glazed seal paste box and cover, yinse he, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1662-1722)

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Lot 742. A peachbloom-glazed seal paste box and cover, yinse he, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1662-1722), 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm.) diam. Estimate USD 50,000 - USD 70,000Price realised USD 162,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2017

The domed cover is covered on the exterior with a mottled blush-pink glaze which deepens and then fades to a mushroom tone towards the rim, and has greyish mottling on one side. The box is covered with a similar glaze also paling at the rim.  

ProvenanceProperty from an Asian family collection; Christie’s Hong Kong, 31 October 2000, lot 867.

NoteThis type of seal paste box forms one of the ba da ma or 'Eight Great Numbers', a group of eight specific vessels covered in a distinctive peachbloom glaze. The glaze appears to have been developed during the Kangxi period, and is characterized by blushes of red against a soft pink base color, sometimes with clear greenish or greyish mottled areas, giving an impression of delicate blushing skin or fruit ripening in the sun. This ‘blushing’ or ‘peachbloom’ effect was very complex to produce, requiring colorants to be blown onto a surface covered with transparent glaze, which was then applied with an additional layer of transparent glaze before being fired at high temperature.

Examples of peachbloom-glazed seal paste boxes and covers in museum collections include one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Kangxi Yongzheng Qianlong, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 141, col. pl. 124; and one as part of a set in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, illustrated by S. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1975, pp. 200-201, pl. 138. Further examples in private collections are illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Vol. 2, London, 1994, p. 178, no. 819, and by J. Ayers, The Baur Collection, Geneva, Chinese Ceramics, Vol. 3, Geneva, 1972, no. A 312. 

Box for seal paste, 1713–22, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Kangxi mark and period (1662–1722)

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Box for seal paste, 1713–22, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Kangxi mark and period (1662–1722). Porcelain with peach-bloom glaze (Jingdezhen ware). H. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm); Diam. 2 13/16 in. (7.1 cm). Gift of Edwin C. Vogel, 1966, 66.206.17 © 2000–2017 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A similar example from the Jingguantang Collection was sold as part of a complete set of the ba da ma at Christie's Hong Kong, 3 November 1996, lot 557, and one formerly in the collection of Mary Stillman Harkness (1874-1952) and accessioned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1950 was sold at Christie’s New York, Collected in America: Chinese Ceramics from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 15 September 2016, lot 917.

A peachbloom-glazed seal paste box and cover,yinse he, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1662-1722)

A peachbloom-glazed seal paste box and cover,yinse he, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1662-1722). Sold for USD 75,000 at Christie’s New York, Collected in America: Chinese Ceramics from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 15 September 2016, lot 917. © Christie's Images Ltd 2016

Christie's. Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art, 14 September 2017, New York