Lot 1316. A rare parcel-gilt silver pear-shaped ewer, 16th century; 9 1/8 in. (23 cm.) high. Estimate USD 15,000 - USD 18,0000. Price realised USD 18,750. © Christie's Image Ltd 2010.

The sides chased with two ogival panels of Daoist immortals and further engraved with suspended ribbon-tied pomegranates overlaid by a stamped diaper band on the neck, the tall slender spout rising from the jaws of a dragon connected to the neck by a strut oflingzhi scroll opposite a dragon-head strut connecting the curved handle, raised on a spreading base encircled by a band of bats flying above waves crashing against rocks, with a tiny rectangular punch mark on the mouth rim.

Note: This rare ewer is similar but not identical to the ewer with cover from the Kempe Collection illustrated by B. Gyllensvärd, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1953, pl. 151, which was later sold at Sotheby's, London, 14 May 2008, lot 119. Another with its original cover illustrated by Mikhail B. Piotrovksi, ed., Treasures of Catherine the Great, London, 2001, pp. 205 and 228, no. 380, in the State Hermitage Museum, is similar in shape and type of decoration to both the present and Kempe ewers. However, unlike the panels on the present ewer those on the sides of the Kempe and Hermitage ewers are of peach shape. The panels on the three ewers depict various Daoist-themed scenes, as well as suspended ribbon-tied pomegranates suggesting the possibility that they were made by the same workshop. This assumption is strengthened by the fact that the Kempe ewer also featured a similar, though larger, mark on its base.


From the Kempe Collection. A tall parcel-gilt silver ewer and cover, Ming dynasty, 16th-17th century, 31cm., 12 1/4in. Estimate 8,000 — 12,000 GBP. Lot sold 31,700 GBP at Sotheby's London, 14 May 2008, lot 119. © Sotheby's.

Cf. my post: A tall parcel-gilt silver ewer and cover, Ming dynasty, 16th-17th century

The shape of all three ewers is related to porcelain examples of the period, several of which are illustrated by J. Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, pp. 219-21, nos. 9:7-9:10 and p. 247, no. 9:69. 

Christie'sFine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, 26 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza