Lot 1779. A peachbloom-glazed brush washer, tangluo xi, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1662-1722); 4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm.) diam. Estimate USD 70,000 - USD 90,000Price realised USD 134,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011. 

The compressed globular body covered on the exterior with a glaze shading from soft crushed strawberry red on the shoulder and above the foot to pale greenish taupe with apple-green mottling (pingguo qing) around the middle, with white interior, huanghuali commemorative box, pierced ivory cover.

Property from the Collection of Doroty Tapper Goldman.

ProvenanceMajor General James J. Wilson, China Relief Expedition, 27 September - 4 November 1900.

NoteThis brush washer comes with a huanghuali box affixed with a plaque inscribed with the name and title Major Genl. James H. Wilson. James Harrison Wilson (September 2, 1837-February 23, 1925) was a United States Army topographic engineer and a Union Army General in the American Civil War. He left the army in 1870, but rejoined in 1898 for the Spanish-American War. In 1900, he formed part of an international expedition to bring relief to foreigners under seige in Beijing.

This type of brush washer is described as of 'gong shape', or tangluo xi, as it has a very compressed body. It belongs to a group of eight vessel shapes known as the ba da ma, Eight Great Numbers, all of which are covered in a peachbloom glaze, and have been thought to have been made especially for the Emperor's writing table. However, John Ayers in the transcript of his lecture, 'The Peachbloom' Wares of the Kangxi period (1662-1722)', TOCS, vol. 64, 1999-2000, pp. 31-50, provides a thorough discussion of peachbloom wares, as well as wares of similar shape with pale celadon and pale blue glazes, suggesting that these wares may have been presented as gifts to members of the court on important court occassions. Similar brush washers have been widely published and are in numerous public and private collections. A number have also been sold at auction, including three in these rooms: 20 September 2005, lot 288; 19 March 2008, lot 636; and 16-17 September 2010, lot 1403.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I and Part II Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 24 March 2011