Lot 2916. A rare enamelled yellow-ground ‘nine bats’ bowl, Yongzheng six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1723-1735); 4 13⁄16 in. (12.2 cm.) diam. Price realised HKD 600,000 (Estimate HKD 300,000 - HKD 500,000). © Christie's 2021

The interior and exterior of the bowl are decorated in yellow, with the exterior detailed with nine bats in flight carrying double gourds which are tied with fluttering blue ribbons, surrounded by green scrolling clouds.

Provenance: A French private collection
Sold at Christie's London, 3 November 2020, lot 34.

NoteBowls of this design are unusual as they depart from the usual convention of only having green-enamelled decorative elements on a yellow ground. Vessels with various coloured enamels on yellow ground are referred to in the imperial archives as ‘a new category of wucai, an innovation of the Yongzheng period. In both cases, however, the designs were incised with crisp details.

Examples of Yongzheng bowls decorated with this pattern include one from the Constantinidi Collection, illustrated by S. Jenyns, Later Chinese Porcelain, 1971, pl. LXIX, no. 3; one in the Beijing Palace Museum, illustrated in Kangxi Yongzheng Qianlong, 1989, p. 238, pl. 67; and various others sold at auction, such as one from the British Rail Pension Fund, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 16 May 1989, lot 78, then again at Christie's Hong Kong, 29 April 2001, lot 545.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 3 Dec 2021