03 avril 2018

A rare doucai cup, Mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722)

A rare doucai cup, Mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722)

A rare doucai cup, Mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722)


Lot 3612. A rare doucai cup, Mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722); 6.4 cm, 2 1/2  in. Estimate 1,800,000 — 2,500,000 HKD. Lot sold 3,240,000 HKD (335,140 EUR). ©  Sotheby's 2018

thinly potted with deep rounded sides rising from a concave base, the exterior delicately painted with bright enamels within an underglaze-blue outline, one side depicting Su Jin kneeling on a mat beside three large jars with an open sutra and a wine cup before him, his hands clasped in prayers to a figure of Budai on a red square table before a three-fold screen, the reverse similarly painted with plantain growing from pierced rocks and inscribed with a poem followed by a square seal reading shang, the base with a six-character reign mark within a double circle.

Provenance: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 15th November 1983, lot 296.
Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 15th May 1990, lot 280.
Collection of Mary Porter Walsh.
Christie’s New York, 26th March 2010, lot 1397.

NoteThe present cup is painted with a charming scene of Su Jin, one of the immortals featured in the famous poem, The Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup by the eminent Tang dynasty poet Du Fu (712-770). It depicts Su Jin kneeling in prayer before a figure of Budai, as recounted in his stanza within the poem:

Su Jin, the religious, cleanses his soul  
Before his painted Buddha.  
But his long rites must needs be interrupted  
As oft he loves to go on a spree. 

Although the subjects of this Tang dynasty poem were contemporaries, fellow scholars and poets, of Du Fu, their elite literati status elevated them to the immortality of the title. The poem describes the rambunctious overindulgence of each of the eight 'immortals' as they participate in revelry to escape from everyday concerns, transcend the material world and gain entrance to a realm of artistic inspiration.

This poem was illustrated in paintings from at least the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), appearing on a handscroll dated to 1363 by Zhang Wo (active c. 1340-1365), and offered at Christie’s Hong Kong, May 2008, lot 1201. It also featured on porcelain during the Shunzhi reign (r. 1644-1661), although it was most popular during the Kangxi reign (r. 1662-1722).

Blue and white versions of the cup, also with Kangxi reign marks and of the period, include one, from the T. Bushell collection, sold twice in these rooms, 22nd May 1979, lot 162, and 19th May 1987, lot 266, from the T.Y. Chao collection, and a third time at Christie’s Hong Kong, 1st December 2009, lot 1895; another sold twice in these rooms, 21st May 1985, lot 110, and 13th November 1990, lot 1, from the Goldschmidt collection; and a third sold in our New York rooms, 28th November 1994, lot 334. Compare also a famille-verte version sold in these rooms, 15th November 1983, lot 296.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 03 Apr 2018.


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