A blue and white inscribed brushpot, Mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722)

Lot 52. A blue and white inscribed brushpot, Mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722); 15.5cm., 6 1/8 in. Estimate 8,000 — 12,000 GBP. Lot sold 10,200 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's 2007

of slightly waisted cylindrical form, painted in underglaze-blue with the text of the Sheng zhu de xian chen song `Ode to the Finding of Virtuous Officials by the Divine Ruler' in kaishu script, finished with a mock seal, reading Xi Chao Chuan Gu, the base with a recessed circle in the centre inscribed with the reign mark.

Provenance: Collection of Ludwig Bretschneider, Munich, circa 1975 (by repute).

Note: A Kangxi brushpot with the same inscription and seal mark, sold in these rooms, 28th November 1978, lot 269, was included in the Kau Chi Society exhibition Ancient Chinese Ceramics, Hong Kong, 1981, cat.no. 112. Another similar brushpot, in the Shanghai Museum, is illustrated in Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1998, pl. 19; and a third example was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 2nd May 2000, lot 577.

The inscription on the present brushpot is taken from the Eulogy of the Sacred Emperor and the Honorable Officials by Wang Ziyuan. The seal consists of the four characters Xi chao chuan gu. The Kangxi Emperor favoured the use of classical texts and literary writings as decoration on ceramics and many of them, such as the Ode to the Red Cliff by the famous Song dynasty poet Su Shih, or Tao Yuanming's poem Returning to Live in the Country were painted on porcelain pieces. See a Kangxi brushpot painted with the poem Song of the Ten Views of the West Lake by Ming poet Mo Fan, sold in these rooms, 19th June 2002, lot 55; and another with the same poem was included in the exhibition Splendour of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1992, cat.no. 129.  

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, London, 16 May 2007