Lot 3017. A fine pair of doucai 'sanduo' wine cups, marks and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735)7.2 cm, 2 7/8  inEstimate 1,500,000 — 2,500,000 HKD (190,995 - 318,325 USD). Lot Sold 3,750,000 HKD (477,488 USD). Courtesy Sotheby's.

each finely potted with rounded sides rising from a short foot to a gently flaring rim, the exterior delicately painted with three leafy branches of the sanduo (Three Abundances) namely peach, finger citron and lychee, the interior with a central medallion enclosing a floral meander, all divided by double-line borders, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark within a double circle.

Provenance: Christie's Hong Kong, 31st March 1992, lot 620.

Note: Delicately potted and exquisitely painted with the sanduo (three abundances) motif, these cups display the Yongzheng Emperor’s taste for elegant wares that were unassuming and yet of the highest quality. The craftsmen of this piece have utilised very few enamels to create a highly vibrant composition: two shades of green to depict the leaves, yellow and iron red to render the ripe skin of the peaches, and aubergine to depict pomegranates.

A closely related pair of cups is illustrated in Ye Peilan, Beauty of Ceramics: Gems of Doucai, vol. 6, Taipei, 1993, pl. 78; another pair is published in Chinese Porcelain. The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong, 1987, pl. 98; and a third pair is illustrated in Julian Thompson, The Alan Chuang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, Hong Kong, 2009, cat. no. 49. Cups of this type were also sold at auction, such as three pairs sold in these rooms, the first from the collection of Edward T. Chow, 19th May 1981, lot 561; the second from the collection of Paul and Helen Bernat, 15th November 1988, lot 6; and the third from the Meiyintang collection, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 4, London, 2010, no. 1748, sold twice in these rooms, 4th April 2012, lot 26, and 8th October 2014, lot 3627. 

This motif was inspired by Chenghua period (1465-1487) bowls painted with four fruiting sprays, such as a reconstructed bowl illustrated in Imperial Porcelains from the Reign of Chenghua in the Ming Dynasty II, Beijing, 2016, pl. 154.

Sotheby'sAn Important Collection of Chinese Ceramics, Hong Kong, 08 Oct 2019