Lot 140. A peachbloom-glazed brush washer, Mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722). Diameter 4½ in., 10.1 cm. Estimate: 50,000 - 70,000 USD. Lot sold: 151,200 USD. © Sotheby's 2021
of delicately potted compressed circular form, supported on a shallow tapering foot, the rounded sides curving inward at the rim and covered on the exterior with a brilliant crimson glaze attractively mottled with lighter pink and green tones, the interior, lip and recessed base white, the interior side of the foot with two short brushstrokes in underglaze blue, the base centered with a three-column six-character mark in underglaze blue.
Provenance: S. H. Hoo, New York, 1960s.
Note: The famous 'peachbloom' glaze was an innovation of the Kangxi period and technically challenging to produce. Potters would coat the vessel with a layer of clear glaze, followed by a layer of copper-oxide-rich pigment, possibly blown onto the underlying glaze using a straw, and then apply a further layer of clear glaze on top. After being fired in a reducing atmosphere and perhaps finished in an oxidizing atmosphere, the pigment developed a soft mottled red tone with flushes of moss green. From the outset, 'peachbloom' wares have been esteemed by connoisseurs and collectors, due to their aesthetic qualities and the fact that this glaze was applied only to a limited range of vessel types designed for scholarly use.
The overall form of this washer is known as tangluo xi, one of the most iconic forms among 'peachbloom' wares. The present washer is, however, distinguished by the additional underglaze-blue strokes at the interior of the foot, which elevate it to a more rarified category of 'peachbloom' washers bearing this feature. Compare a related example with a single stroke inside the foot in the collection of the British Museum, London (acc. no. 1994,0126.1). Another related example with an illegible mark and a few strokes inside the foot is in the collection of the Shanghai Museum, published in Wang Qingzheng, Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Shanghai, 1998, pl. 208.
A washer of this type, inscribed with character wen by the interior of the foot, was included in the exhibition Chinese Porcelain from the 15th to the 18th Century, Eskenazi, London, 2006, cat. no. 8; another from the collection of Edward T. Chow, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 25th November 1980, lot 68, again in our London rooms, 17th November 1999, lot 784, and most recently in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th April 2009, lot 1657; a third was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 31st May 2010, lot 1864; a fourth recently sold in these rooms, 22nd September 2020, lot 113.
Tangluo xi with only the six-character Kangxi mark are more commonly known. See a washer in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, pl. 123; one in the Baur Collection illustrated in John Ayers, The Baur Collection, vol. 3, Geneva, 1972, pl. A 309. A further example, from the Sir Percival David Collection and now in the British Museum, London (acc. no. PDF,B.582), is published in Margaret Medley, Illustrated Catalogue of Ming and Ch’ing Monochrome in the in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1973, p. 56, no. B582.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 21 September 2021