Lot 1224. A famille verte 'Apricot blossom' 'Month' cup, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1662-1722), 2 in. (4.9 cm.) high. Estimate USD 25,000 - USD 35,000. Price realised USD 106,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2017
The cup is delicately decorated on one side with a flowering apricot tree amidst grasses, rocks and plants, the reverse with a poetic inscription referring to the scene, followed by a single-character seal mark, shang (appreciation).
Property from the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, New York.
Note: The poetic inscription reads:
Qingxiang he suyu, jiase chu qingyan ('Its clear fragrance harmonizes with the scent of over-night rain, its beautiful color surpasses the brilliance of sunshine reflected off the haze.')
The couplet is taken from the poem, In Reply to Zhangsun Yi for Sending me Apricot from Lanxi, by the Tang dynasty poet Qian Qi (AD 710-780).
The flower depicted on this particular cup is apricot blossom (xinghua), the flower of the second lunar month. Since this was the month in which the imperial examinations were held, the apricot blossom has also become the 'successful candidate's flower', as well as being a symbol of a beautiful woman.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 14 - 15 September 2017, New York