Lot 336. A rare and important pair of famille-verte meiping, Qing dynasty, dated Xinsi year, corresponding to 1701. Height 12 in., 30.5 cm. Estimate: US$80,000 - US$120,000. Lot Sold 100,000 US$. Courtesy Sotheby's.
each superbly potted with a well-proportioned rounded shoulder tapering to a low, splayed base and surmounted by a short waisted neck with a gently flaring rim, the baluster body vibrantly enameled with similar scenes of scholars paying homage, in one a kneeling scholar presents credentials near a court attendant reading from a scroll, all observed by further scholars, attendants and guards; the other portraying two red-bearded foreigners showing deference, one presenting a jue, the other a boot, both within a lavish interior cleverly outlined by a voluminous drapery swag swept back to one side and the strong diagonal lines of the tiled roof to the other, the reverse with vertical rockwork of varying greens and tall leafy trees, all set between a band of striding chilong on a fish-roe ground and a chevron band around the rim, and florets on a pale green stippled ground over a narrow border of overlapping petals encircling the foot, the base inscribed xinsi nian zhi in underglaze blue (2), coll. nos 580, 581.
Provenance: Collection of Mrs. Collis P. Huntington (1851-1924).
Collection of Archer M. Huntington (1870-1955).
Duveen Brothers, New York.
Collection of The Norton Simon Foundation, 1964.
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, 7th-8th May 1971, lot 28.
Ralph M. Chait Galleries, New York.
Collection of David A. Berg.
Christie's New York, 21st September 2000, lot 328.
Marchant, London, 2002.
Exhibited: Porcelain Through the Ages, Sassoon House, London, March 1934.
Iranian Institute, New York, 1944.
Recent Acquisitions, S. Marchant & Son, London, 2001, cat. no. 10.
Literature: Edgar Gorer and J. F. Blacker, Chinese Porcelain and Hardstones, Vol. I, London, 1911, pl. 118.
Jeffrey P. Stamen, Cynthia Volk with Yibin Ni, A Culture Revealed, Kangxi-Era Chinese Porcelain from the Jie Rui Tang Collection, Bruges, 2017, cat. no. 31.
The vases each depict customary displays of homage by aspiring scholars to provincial governors. It is unclear whether the seated officials are retiring from office or are newly appointed but establishing credentials and gaining merit through tribute would have been expected of lower ranking officials. The gift of a boot would seem unusual, however, there was a tradition that new boots symbolize a fresh start and it was understood that the old pair would remain at the previous post symbolizing enduring affection.
A vase with the same subject matter from the Ionides Collection was sold at Sotheby’s London, 14th July 1964, lot 377.