Lot 3604. A fine wucai 'month' cup, mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722); 6.7 cm, 2 5/8  in. Estimate 400,000 — 600,000 HKD (50,932 - 76,398 USD). Lot Sold 1,750,000 HKD (222,828 USD). Courtesy Sotheby's.

finely potted with deep rounded sides rising from a short foot to a flared rim, the exterior delicately enamelled with red florets, the reverse inscribed in underglaze blue with a poem reading Qing xiang he su yu, jia se chu qing yan ('The fragrance blends with the flavour of evening rain; the beautiful colour stands out in clear weather like in mist'), followed by a seal mark reading shang, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark in three columns within a double circle.

Provenance: Christie's New York, 17th September 2008, lot 252.

NoteMonth cups depicting seasonal flowers accompanied by pertinent two-line poems represent a classic design of the Kangxi period. Very delicately potted, they are painted in the proper wucai palette of underglaze blue and overglaze enamels, which was devised in the Ming dynasty, but rarely used in the Qing, when the underglaze colour was generally omitted. On these month cups the designs are generally sketched on the unglazed porcelain in a faint underglaze blue.

Slight differences in size, colours, writing styles and marks between individual cups and different months suggest that even these cups may not have been produced as sets of twelve, but perhaps issued consecutively, as the year evolved, to be assembled at the end.

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