A very rare pair of moulded turquoise-enamelled mallow-form tea bowls, Yongzheng six-character marks in underglaze blue within double circles and of the period (1723-1735)

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Lot 2805. A very rare pair of moulded turquoise-enamelled mallow-form tea bowls, Yongzheng six-character marks in underglaze blue within double circles and of the period (1723-1735); 4 ½ in. (11.3 cm.) diamEstimate HKD 600,000 - HKD 800,000Price realised HKD 2,250,000 © Christie's Images Ltd 2017

Each bowl is delicately moulded with a band of petal lappets above the foot rim, below swirling and overlapping mallow-flower petals flaring to corresponding lobed rim, covered on the exterior with an opaque turquoise enamel stopping neatly around the foot rim. The interior and base are covered with a transparent glaze. 

Provenance: Frank Caro, successor to CT Loo, New York, 1960s. 

Exhibited: San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas, 1984-2017

NoteThe attractive form of the current bowl appears to have originated during the Yongzheng reign. It can be found in a range of sizes, from as small as a wine cups measuring just over 6 cm. in diameter, to large bowls measuring over 20 cm. in diameter. The present pair, appears to be the only known examples decorated with turquoise enamel and of this size. 

Other Yongzheng-marked bowls of this form include: a smaller pair of lemon-yellow enamelled cups (6.3 cm.), sold at Sotheby’s New York, 18 September 1996, lot 221; a white-glazed cup (7 cm.) moulded with longer petals on the upper tier with incised details illustrated in The Wonders of the Potter’s Palette, Qing Ceramics from the Collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1984, pp. 100-101, no.58; a lime-green enamelled bowl (15.5 cm.) in the Victoria and Albert Museum, illustrated by R. Kerr in Chinese Ceramics: Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911, London, 1986, p. 92, no. 66; a pair of lemon-yellow enamelled bowls (15.2 cm.) from the E. T. Hall collection, sold at Christie’s London, 7 June 2004, lot 277; a white-glazed bowl (15.5 cm.) in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan cang Qingdai yuyao ciqi [Porcelains from the Qing dynasty imperial kilns in the Palace Museum], vol. 1, pt. II, Beijing, 2005, no. 96; and a large lemon-yellow enamelled bowl (20.7 cm.), sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27 October 2003, lot 703.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics from The Dr. James D. Thornton Collection, 29 November 2017, Hong Kong