Lot 647. A fine and rare 'Eight buddhist emblems' clair-de-lune glazed brush washer, Daoguang seal mark and period (1821-1850). Diameter 8 in., 20.2 cm. Estimate 30,000 — 50,000 USD. Lot sold 75,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.

of shallow cylindrical form, the short straight sides crisply molded to the exterior in low relief with the 'Eight Buddhist Emblems' amid a stylized floral scroll, covered overall in a pale lavender-blue glaze pooling to a deeper periwinkle in the recesses, the base unglazed save for the countersunk circle at the center with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.

Provenance: Ralph M. Chait Galleries, New York, March 2004.

Literature: Karen Thomson, ed., The Blema and H. Arnold Steinberg Collection, Montreal, 2015, pl. 155.

Note: The present brushwasher's ethereal yet striking periwinkle glaze reflects Qing dynasty advancements utilizing the potential of cobalt blue glazes. Lighter shades of blue, such as clair-de-lune and lavender blue glazes, were made using smaller amounts of finely ground cobalt. Also more translucent, these glazes showed off the fine white porcelain body underneath, which was perfected during the Qing dynasty. 

A similar celadon-glazed washer from the Yongzheng period, albeit raised on tripod feet and with a white interior, is in the collection of The Tsui Museum of Art, illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art: Chinese Ceramics IV, Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 22, and was exhibited in Splendours of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1992, cat. no. 209. Compare also a celadon-glazed Qianlong period example with the Buddhist emblems on the interior, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 10th April 2006, lot 1622.

Sotheby'sImportant Chinese Art, 11 september 2019