05 août 2018

A pair of doucai 'chicken' cups, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng period (1723-1735)




Lot 3631. A pair of doucai 'chicken' cups, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng period (1723-1735); 6.6 cm., 2 5/8  in. Estimate 1,500,000 — 2,000,000 HKD. Lot Sold 2,680,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's.

each finely potted with rounded sides rising from a concave base to a gently flared rim, the exterior decorated in delicate shades of enamels and underglaze blue with two cockerels and five chicks enamelled yellow and aubergine, a large rock formation issuing a pomegranate fruit and flowers interrupting the continuous scene, all between a single-line and double-line bordering the foot and rim respectively, the interior decorated with a medallion enclosing multi-coloured lingzhi blossoms and leaves, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with an apocryphal four-character Chenghua mark within a double circle, wood stands.

Provenance: Collection of Professor Cheng Te-K'un (1907 - 2001).
Sotheby's London, 9th November 2005, lot 300.
Note: This exquisitely painted pair of doucai winecups belongs to a group of Yongzheng cups inspired by the famous Chenghua ‘chicken cups’. Yongzheng cups usually follow the Chenghua prototypes closely in shape but vary considerably in the interpretation of the design. Although the position of the birds and chicks is similar to that found on the Chenghua original, the cock features elaborate ruffled feathers that were more in line with the Yongzheng taste. Furthermore, the proportions of the flowers and rocks have also changed.

A closely related winecup, from the collection of Mrs Walter Sedgwick, included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition Arts of the Ch’ing Dynasty, London, 1964, cat. no. 194, was sold in these rooms, 14th November 1989, lot 230, and is illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 4, pt. 2, London, 2010, pl. 1745; and another from the Edward T. Chow collection was sold in these rooms, 25th November 1980, lot 139.

For the Chenghua prototype see the chicken cup from the Edward T. Chow, Sakamoto Gorō and Meiyintang collections, sold in these rooms, 8th April 2014, lot 1.

Sotheby’s. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong , 08 oct. 2014


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