A fine and rare blue and white brush pot, Kangxi period (1662-1722)




Lot 1118. A fine and rare blue and white brush pot, Kangxi period (1662-1722); 7 ¼ in. (18.5 cm.) diam. Estimate USD 50,000 - USD 70,000. Price realised USD 68,750. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.

The cylindrical brush pot is finely decorated with an antlered stag and a doe standing on a rocky promontory on one side and a pair of standing cranes on the other side, all within a continuous scene of a riverscape interspersed with pines and grasses, and painted with a moon and a two-character mark shu gu (following the ancients) followed by two seals. 

Provenance: Barry Sainsbury Collection, prior to 1991.
Dr. Lowell S. Young Collection, San Francisco, no. 44, acquired 23 June 1991.

Literature: Marchant, The Dr. Lowell Young Collection. Ming & Qing Blue & White Porcelain, London, 2012, pp. 62-63, no. 27.

Exhibited: London, Marchant, The Dr. Lowell Young Collection. Ming & Qing Blue & White Porcelain, 1-15 November 2012

Note: The subject matter of the present brush pot is very auspicious, with wishes for longevity represented by the cranes, and wishes for success in imperial examinations represented by the deer. Together, the cranes and deer also form a rebus for long life, liuhe tongchun (the universe is enjoying longevity). The depiction of the deer as a pair, and the cranes also as a pair, together with pine trees, symbolize wishes for happiness in marriage and longevity.

It is rare to find a Kangxi blue and white brush pot decorated with animals, such as the deer and crane, as on the current brush pot, rather than figures in a landscape or on a terrace. This subject matter is more often seen on vases from the Kangxi period, such as the two in the Palace Museum, Beijing, painted with a similarly vibrant blue, illustrated by Chen Runmin (ed.), Qing Shunzhi Kangxi Chao Qinghua Ci, Beijing, 2005, pp. 476-77, nos. 307 and 308.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 13 September 2019