A finely painted small doucai 'chicken' cup, Kangxi period (1662-1722)


Lot 1215. A finely painted small doucai 'chicken' cup, Kangxi period (1662-1722), 2 3/8 in. (6 cm.) diam. Estimate USD 20,000 - USD 30,000Price realised USD 30,000© Christie's Images Ltd 2017

The cup has deep rounded sides rising to a very slightly everted rim. The exterior is decorated on two sides with a chicken and chicks, the scenes separated by blue rocks set amidst flowers. All are between blue borders, and an apocryphal Chenghua mark is on the base.


NotePorcelain decorated with the exquisite, subtle doucai enamels in the Chenghua period, were highly treasured both by the Ming and Qing courts. Few pieces rival the exacting quality of Chenghua 'chicken' cups which are finely potted and meticulously painted in soft enamels with a delightfully free and spontaneous scene of chickens tending to their chicks. While the theme of chickens is rarely used on porcelain decoration, a number of such cups were produced during the late Ming and Qing dynasties, in an attempt to recreate the fine and rare qualities of the famous prototype.

Compare the doucai ‘chicken’ cup of similar small size with apocryphal Chenghua mark, but dating to the Kangxi-Yongzheng period, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong 31 May 2017, lot 3023.


A fine and rare small Ming-style doucai ‘chicken’ cup, Kangxi-Yongzheng period (1662-1735), 2 3/8 in. (6 cm.) diam., box. Price realised HKD 1,620,000 at Christie’s Hong Kong 31 May 2017, lot 3023© Christie's Images Ltd 2017

(Cf. my post A fine and rare small Ming-style doucai ‘chicken’ cup, Kangxi-Yongzheng period (1662-1735)

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 14 - 15 September 2017, New York