Lot 3175. A finely painted massive doucai jardinière, Qing dynasty, 18th century; 61 cm., 24 inEstimate 800,000 — 1,000,000 HKDLot Sold 2,300,000 HKD. Courtesy Sotheby's.

of broad circular form with deep rounded sides, painted in brilliant doucai enamels with a continuous garden scene depicting two pheasants, one male and one female, the feathery plumage of the cock embellished in gilt, the birds perched upon rockwork amid flowering peony, hibiscus, lotus, magnolia and cherry blossoms, the gnarled branches bearing luscious blooms in shaded tones of pale-yellow, lilac, blue and iron-red splashed with gilt, amid bamboo and foliage picked out in contrasted tones of green interspersed with tight and opening buds.

Note: The present jardinière is impressive for its magnificent large size and painterly decoration in the doucai palette. Vessels of this form and decorative technique are extremely rare, although a doucai jardinière of similar shape and size, painted with a continuous scene of immortals, was sold in these rooms, 24th November 1987, lot 166. See also a slightly smaller jardinière of this type, also decorated with immortals in a landscape setting, sold in our London rooms, 12th November 2003, lot 250.

The form of this vessel is known from large jardinières of similar size but decorated in blue-and-white; for example see a vessel, from the Mayer collection, sold in our New York rooms, 3rd June 1976, lot 428, attributed to the 18th century; and another with similar tall, slightly flared sides, and of the same dimensions, painted with a dense lotus scroll and attributed to the Qianlong period, illustrated in Selected Ceramics from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Hu, Shanghai, 1989, p. 92, pl. 57.  

The naturalistic treatment of the birds and flowering plants, seen on this jardinière, is also of exceptional quality and is after bird and flower paintings of the Ming dynasty. It was during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor that this decorative pattern became popular on famille-verte and blue-and-white wares. See a large circular-form famille-verte jardinère decorated with birds and flowers, inscribed with a Kangxi reign mark and of the period, from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Wucai, Doucai, Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 149; and another vessel also decorated in the famille-verte palette, with birds perched on flowering branches, included in the exhibition Qing Imperial Porcelain, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1995, cat. no. 22. See also a Kangxi fishbowl painted with the pattern of long-tailed pheasants perched amongst rockwork, flowering shrubs and other birds in flight, sold in our New York rooms, 16th May 2007, lot 82.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 08 april 2011