Lot 8008. A rare wucai ‘phoenix’ double-gourd form wall vase, Wanli six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double rectangle and of the period (1573-1619). 12 1/4 in. (31 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 1,000,000 - HKD 1,500,000 (USD 128,669 - USD 193,003). Price realised HKD 2,250,000. © Christies Images Ltd 2017
The upper bulb is vibrantly enamelled with a pair of phoenix in flight amid ruyi-shaped clouds below a band of downward plantain leaves at the rim, the lower bulb with a pair of confronted phoenix standing amid peonies and rocks beneath seven smaller long-tailed birds above a classic scroll on the flared foot, divided by ruyi-head and lingzhiborders at the waist. The reverse is inscribed with the reign mark enclosed within a double-rectangle between a lotus flower and leaf above a square aperture, Japanese wood box.
Provenance: The T.T. Tsui Collection, acquired circa 1990s
Offered at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30 October 1995, lot 712
Sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 10 April 2006, lot 1781
Note: A very similar example from the Jingguantang Collection, was included in the exhibition Joined Colours. Decoration and Meaning in Chinese Porcelain, and later sold at Sotheby’s London, 12 July 2006, lot 68; another closely related example with the pair of phoenix on the upper bulb facing the opposite directions from the Mr. and Mrs. Otto Doering Collection, was sold at Christie’s New York, 9 November 1978, lot 130, and illustrated by Anthony du Boulay, Christie’s Pictorial History of Chinese Ceramics, Oxford, 1984, p. 171, no. 3; and a third also with the rightward facing phoenix but with the mark in blue and white, was sold at Nagel, 7 December 2015, lot 456.
A good wucai double-gourd wall vase, mark and period of Wanli. 30cm., 12in.. Sold for 72,000 GBP at Sotheby’s London, 12 July 2006, lot 68. Photo: Sotheby's
A very rare Impérial wucai double-gourd wall vase, China, underglaze blue Wanli mark and period. Sold for 220.000 € at Nagel, 7 December 2015, lot 456. © 2015 Nagel Auctions
Another closely related group of wall vases painted with cockerels on the lower bulb is known, examples include one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours Tianjin City Art Museum; a second is illustrated in Porcelains from the Tianjin Municipal Museum, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 120; a third in the Baur Collection, published by John Ayers, The Baur Collection, vol. 2, Geneva, 1969, pl. A 201; a further example in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, published in E. Zimmerman, Chinesisches Porzellan, Leipzig, 1923, pl. 66; and a fifth sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 5 October 2011, lot 1901.
Wucai double-gourd wall vase, Wanli mark and period, Collection of Palace Museum, Beijing
A Rare Wucai Double-Gourd Wall Vase with Roosters and Phoenix. Mark and Period of Wanli. 30.5 cm., 12 in. Sold for 1,340,000 HKD at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 5 October 2011, lot 1901. Photo Sotheby's.
Christie's. Important Ming Imperial Works of Art from The Le Cong Tang Collection Evening Sale, 27 November 2017, Hong Kong