Lot 69. A large cloisonné enamel archaistic tripod incense burner, Ding, Late Ming Dynasty; 37.5cm (14 3/4in) high. Estimate: £20,000 - £30,000. Sold for £ 25,062 (€ 28,447). © Bonhams 2001-2019

The globular body supported on three cylindrical legs, the flanged rim chased with a key-fret band and flanked at the sides by a pair of upright bracket handles, decorated in red, blue, yellow and white enamels with stylised archaistic taotie masks on the body and lotus scrolls on the legs against a turquoise-blue ground.

NoteThe taotie mask motif on the present lot reflects the scholarly trend of the 'search for evidence' (kaozheng 考證) movement beginning in the early 17th century. Although this movement originated in a renewed scholarly interest in ancient texts and inscriptions on archaic bronzes, as literati sought a more empirical approach to understanding their ancient heritage, it led to a greater fascination for decorative designs adopted from ancient bronzes too. Responding to this wave of archaism which would later be adopted by the Imperial court, artisans reproduced the motifs and patterns of ancient bronzes on their cloisonné enamel wares.

Compare the similar motif of taotie masks on a related gui-form incense burner, illustrated by S.S.Lin, Chinese Incense Burners: Collection of Steven Hung & Lindy Chern, Taipei, 2000, p.36, no.4.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art, London, 16 May 2019