Lot 517. A fine famille-verte 'Hibiscus' month cup, Kangxi mark and period (1662-1722). Height 2 1/2 in., 6.5 cm. Estimate 80,000 — 120,000 USD. Lot sold 200,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
finely potted with deep rounded sides rising from a short foot to a gently flaring rim, the exterior delicately enameled with red hibiscus buds, the reverse inscribed in underglaze blue with a poem reading qing xiang he su yu, jia se chu qing yan ('the fragrance blends with the flavor of evening rain; the beautiful color stands out in clear weather like in mist'), followed by a seal mark reading shang ('appreciation'), the base with a six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle.
Provenance: Collection of Stephen Junkunc III (d. 1978).
Note: Among the celebrated set of finely enameled wine cups representing the twelve months of the year, those painted with hibiscus represent the tenth month. A similar cup in from the Avery Brundage Collection in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco is illustrated in René-Yvon Lefebvre d’Argencé, Chinese Ceramics in the Avery Brundage Collection, San Francisco, 1967, pl. LXVIIc. Other examples with the same decoration, palette and bearing Kangxi reign marks include one from the Edward T. Chow Collection that sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 25th November 1980, lot 148; and one from the collection of Sir Harry Garner that sold first in our London rooms, 25th March 1975, lot 267, and more recently in our Hong Kong rooms, 7th October 2015, lot 3703. See also a similar cup sold in these rooms, 12th September 2018, lot 127.
A full set of 'month' cups, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Kangxi. Yongzheng. Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, pl. 48; a set from the Sir Percival David Collection and now in the British Museum, London, is published in the Illustrated Catalogue of Qing Enamelled Wares in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, (rev. ed.), London, 1991, pl. 815; another in the Idemitsu Museum of Art, Tokyo, is included in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1987, pl. 221.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 20 March 2019