08 novembre 2019

A rare wucai 'month' cup, Kangxi mark and period (1662-1722)




Lot 149. A rare wucai 'month' cup, Kangxi mark and period (1662-1722). Diameter 6.5 cm, 2½ in. Estimate: 20,000 - 30,000 GBP. Lot sold 112,500 GBP. Photo Sotheby's

finely potted, the deep rounded sides rising from a short foot to a flared rim, delicately enamelled around the exterior with a red-flowering peach tree with small blossoms among scant leaves, representing the third month, the reverse inscribed in underglaze blue with a poem followed by a seal mark reading shang (appreciation), the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character mark within a double circle.

Provenance: T.Y. King, Jr., Kong, 7th February 1965 (£125),
Bluett & Sons Ltd., London, 15th November 1965 (£ 225).
Collection of Allan D. Pilkington.
Bluett & Sons Ltd., London, 11th June 1969 (£375).
Thence by family descent.

Note: Month cups depicting seasonal flowers accompanied by pertinent two-line poems represent a classic design of the Kangxi period (r. 1662-1722). 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.

The poem on the present cup may be translated as follows: 

'The swallow returns when the blossoms sway in the breeze,
It is the season in late spring when farmers return to their fields.'

Compare a similar cup from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. E. Toeg, included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition Enamelled Polychrome Porcelain of the Manchu Dynasty (1644-1912), London, 1951, cat. no. 253, and sold twice in these rooms, 3rd December 1963, lot 147, and 14th July 1970, lot 204; another example, from the YC Chen collection, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 29th May 2013, lot 1911.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, London, 06 Nov 2019


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