Lot 42. A fine peachbloom-glazed seal paste box and cover, Kangxi Mark and Period (1662-1722). Diameter 2 7/8 in., 7.3 cm. Estimate 40,000 — 60,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
of compressed circular form set over a tapered foot, the exterior covered in a crushed raspberry-red glaze transmuting to pink, some areas mottled with green and fine black flecks, the interior and base glazed white, the latter with a six-character mark in underglaze blue (2).
Collection of Florence (1920-2018) and Herbert (1917-2016) Irving, no. 777.
Note: Peachbloom-glazed wares rank amongst the most admired of Kangxi porcelainS. The present seal paste box, also known as yinse he or 'vermilion box', belongs to one of eight peachbloom-glazed wares made for the scholar's table. The glaze, also known in Chinese as 'apple red,' 'bean red', or 'drunken beauty,' required the utmost technical precision. To create this effect, a copper-lime pigment was blown through a bamboo tube onto a layer of clear glaze and then covered with another layer of clear glaze. This resulted in the variegated pink and occasional green tones, depending on the firing conditions.
Similar seal boxes can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, illustrated in Suzanne G. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, fig. 237; in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Kangxi. Yongzheng. Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1989, pl. 124; and in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the museum's Special Exhibition of K'ang-hsi, Yung-cheng and Ch'ien-lung Porcelain Ware from the Ch'ing Dynasty, Taipei, 1986, cat. no. 11. See also examples sold at auction: in these rooms 15th March 2017, lot 697; in our London rooms 5th November 2014, lot 160; and in our Hong Kong rooms 5th October 2011, lot 1996. See also one formerly in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, sold at Christie's New York, 15th September 2016, lot 917.