A fine pair of famille rose 'Daoist Immortals' bowls and covers, Jiaqing-Daoguang period (1796-1850) 

Lot 2299. A fine pair of famille rose 'Daoist Immortals' bowls and covers, Jiaqing-Daoguang period (1796-1850); 4 3/8 in. (11.2 cm.) wide. Estimate HKD 100,000 - HKD 150,000Price realised HKD 300,000© Christie's Images Ltd 2013

The bowls are of ogee-form with fluted mouth rims. Each bowl is finely enamelled on the exterior to depict a gathering of the Daoist immortals Lan Caihe, Li Tieguai, Han Zhongli, Zhang Guolao and He Xiangu, all seated at leisure in a landscape scene. The domed covers have similar fluted mouth rims. Each is decorated depicting the remaining three immortals to complete the group of eight, with LüDongbin and Cao Guojiu in appreciation of Han Xiangzi playing the flute. The interiors and bases are enamelled turquoise. The maker's square seal marks are inscribed on the bases of the bowls and upper sides of the covers.

ProvenanceJohn Reeves, FRS (1774-1856) 

Note: John Reeves arrived in Canton as Assistant Inspector of Tea for the Honourable East India Company in 1812, working in Canton during the tea season and residing at Macao at other times. He served three tours in China, interspersed with periods of leave, between 1812 and 1831, rising to become Chief Inspector of Tea.

A related bowl and cover of this form dating to the early 19th century in the British Museum is illustrated by Soame Jenyns, Later Chinese Porcelain: The Ch'ing Dynasty (1644-1912), no. 1, pl. LXXIII. The British Museum bowl is marked, Ziezhu Zhuren, 'Made by the Master of Wind Music', indicating that it was a private commission as are the present examples. 

Christie's. Imperial Sale; Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, HKCEC Grand Hall, 29 May 2013