A fine and rare famille-rose 'Dragon' brush, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795)

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L0t 3616. A fine and rare famille-rose 'Dragon' brush, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); handle 17.1 cm, 6 3/4 inEstimate 1,200,000 — 1,800,000 HKD (152,868 - 229,302 USD)Lot Sold 2,125,000 HKD (271,065 USD). Courtesy Sotheby's.

the bulbous body with a long cylindrical handle surmounted with a globular finial, brightly painted with a ferocious iron-red dragon, his facial features, scales and flowing mane picked out in gilding, the beast writhing amidst multi-coloured scrolling lingzhi-shaped clouds against a milky-white ground, the tip of the terminal with an iron-red six-character seal mark.

ProvenanceSotheby's Hong Kong, 25th April 2004, lot 64.

Note: A very similar brush in the Shanghai Museum is illustrated in Zhongguo taoci quanji [Complete series on Chinese ceramics], vol. 15, Shanghai, 2000, pl.51.

This brush ranks among the finest produced in Jingdezhen for the court during the reign of Qianlong. Porcelain brush handles were rare as opposed to brush handles made out of jade, bamboo, wood or cloisonne.  Compare another Qianlong porcelain famille-rose brush in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, which is similar in size, but decorated with the 'Eight Precious Emblems' and with a faux-bois tip, illustrated in Bunbo JyueiDohbohsha, Kyoto, 1992, cat. no. 72.

Brush handles were made out of porcelain for the court since the early 15th century. The form of the present brush, with its bulbous mouth, seems to originate in late Ming dynasty brush handles, compare two brushes in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, one blue and white porcelain, the other inlaid lacquer, illustrated in Bunbo Jyuei, op. cit., 1992, cat. nos 69 and 70. See also a wucai brush handle illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. II, London, 1995, pl. 708, and sold in these rooms, 5th October 2011, lot 38.

From the Meiyintang Collection

From the Meiyintang Collection. A fine and rare wucai brush handle, Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573-1620); 18.5 cm., 7 1/4 in. Sold for 5,420,000 HKD at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 5th October 2011, lot 38. Courtesy Sotheby's

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 03 oct. 2018, 03:00 PM