A fine and rare Ming-style doucai 'Chicken' cup, Kangxi period (1662-1722) 

Lot 2195. A fine and rare Ming-style doucai 'Chicken' cup, Kangxi period (1662-1722); 3 1/4 in. (8.1 cm.) diam. Estimate HKD 500,000 - HKD 800,000Price realised HKD 596,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2012

The cup is finely potted with slightly rounded sides rising from the recessed base to a gently everted rim. The exterior is delicately painted in pale underglaze-blue wash, yellow, shades of green, and iron-red with a continuous scene depicting two groups, each of a cockerel, a hen and three chicks, divided by camellia and day lilies growing from ornamental rocks. The scene is framed within double-line borders around the foot and below the rim. The base with an apocryphal six-character Chenghua mark within a double-rectangle, box.

ProvenanceSold at Christie's Paris, 21 December 2009, lot 276 

NoteThe present cup with its additional insects in flight appears to be unique. This cup belongs to a group known as 'chicken' cups that were produced in the early Qing period to emulate those that were produced in the Ming dynasty Chenghua period (1465-1487). Compare Qing examples, a Kangxi-marked pair of cups from the Edward T. Chow Collection, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 25 November 1980, lot 138; one in the Percival David Foundation, illustrated together with the Chenghua original, Catalogue, section 5, no. A749, pl. XIV; and another from the Ma Foundation, illustrated by J. Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London 2001, p.159, fig.2, together with Chenghua and Yongzheng versions of the cup. 

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 28 November 2012.