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Lot 137. A café-au-lait-glazed bowl, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795). Diameter 6¾ in., 17.1 cm. Estimate: 8,000 - 12,000 USDLot sold: 13,860 USD. © Sotheby's 2021

the shallow rounded sides rising from a very slightly splayed foot to a gently everted rim, the exterior sides encircled by two raised fillets, covered overall with an iridescent reddish-brown glaze, the base with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.

Provenance: Collection of Liang Dunyan (1857–1924), and thence by descent.

Note: Compare two bowls of this type sold in our Hong Kong rooms: the first on 3rd October 2018, lot 3644, and the second on 29th-30th November 2018, lot 745. Two others sold at Christie's New York in 2006: the first on 28th March 2006, lot 459, and the second on 18th September 2006, lot 380.

Liang Dunyan (1857–1924) was a native of Guangdong province, who was partially educated in the United States through his participation in the Chinese Educational Mission. The Mission, which operated from 1872 to 1881, sent 120 Chinese youths to live with American families and study in New England secondary schools, and subsequently study in American universities, with the aim that graduates would return to China and contribute to China's modernization and ‘Self-Strengthening’ efforts. As part of that pioneering program, Liang entered Hartford Public High School in Connecticut in 1874 and went on to graduate from Yale University (class of 1882). Following his return to China, Liang served in numerous important roles as a politician, diplomat, and advocate for education starting in the late Qing dynasty. Among his distinguished positions were his tenure as President of Beiyang University in Tianjin (1904-07), China’s Minister to the U.S.(stationed in Washington, D.C.) (1907), and the President of the Board of Foreign Affairs (1908-11). His prime accomplishment was negotiating with the U.S. Minister to China, William Rockhill, in 1908-09, to finalize the U.S.-Sino scheme to utilize the excess Boxer Indemnity funds in the creation of a Boxer Indemnity Scholarship. Since 1909, the Scholarship has sponsored thousands of Chinese students to study in U.S. preparatory schools and universities. During the Republic period, Liang served as the Minister of Communications (1914-16) and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1917).

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 21 September 2021