A fine pair of small blue and white cups, Yongzheng marks and period (1723-1735)

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Lot 3723. A fine pair of small blue and white cups, Yongzheng marks and period (1723-1735); 7.1 cm., 2 3/4  in. Estimate 550,000 — 650,000 HKD (63,226 — 74,721 EUR). Lot sold 687,500 HKD (79,032 EUR)Courtesy Sotheby's

each delicately potted with deep rounded sides rising from a short foot to a slightly everted rim, the exterior decorated with six stylised flowerheads wreathed by meandering leafy scrolls, the interior centred with a medallion enclosing radiating spearhead motifs, all surrounded by five stylised lotus blooms, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark within a double-circle.

Provenance: Christie's New York, 26th March 2010, lot 1371.

NoteA closely related cup from the collection of Brian S. McElney was included in the exhibition Porcelain of the High Qing, Art Gallery of Victoria, Victoria, 1983, cat. no. 20; two cups were sold in these rooms, the first, 28th April 1992, lot 107, and the second, 5th November 1997, lot 1449; and a pair was sold in our London rooms, 9th November 2005, lot 316. Compare also a pair of Yongzheng mark and period cups painted with this motif in the doucai palette, from the collection of C.P. Lin, included in the exhibition Elegant Form and Harmonious Decoration. Four Dynasties of Jingdezhen Porcelain, British Museum, London, 1991, cat. no. 143.

This charming design is borrowed from a Chenghua period (1464-87) prototype; see two bowls decorated with this motif, one with a Chenghua mark and of the period and the other with an apocryphal Xuande mark, unearthed from the waste heaps of the Imperial kilns at Zhushan, Jingdezhen, and included in the exhibition A Legacy of Chenghua. Imperial Porcelain of the Chenghua Reign Excavated from Zhushan, The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1993, cat. no. C71.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 07 oct. 2015, 02:30 PM