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Lot 3652. A large coral-ground famille-verte and gilt-decorated 'boys' bowl, Seal mark and period of Jiaqing (1796-1820); 21 cmLot sold 1,197,000 HKD (Estimate : 400,000 - 600,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2022

Provenance: Acquired in Hong Kong prior to 1995.


NoteA closely related bowl in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelains of Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 159; one in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, is illustrated in Lu Minghua, Qingdai Yongzheng-Xuantong guanyao ciqi [Qing dynasty official wares from the Yongzheng to the Xuantong reigns], Shanghai, 2014, pl. 3-88; and another, in the Hong Kong Museum of Art, was included in the Museum’s exhibition The Wonders of the Potter’s Palette, Hong Kong, 1984, cat. no. 93; and a further bowl, included in the Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong exhibition Ch’ing Polychrome Porcelain, Fung Ping Shan Museum, Hong Kong, 1977, cat. no. 100, was sold at Christie’s London, 13th December 1982, lot 528.

For the prototype of this design, see a Kangxi mark and period bowl illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art. Chinese Ceramics IV. Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 104.

This charming bowl is painted with the motif of boys at play in a fenced garden, which represents the wish for many sons. Each boy is engaged in activities that are filled with auspicious meaning, such as the boy holding a lotus spray, which represents the wish for descendants to live in harmony (zisun hehe), and another carrying a vase (ping), which is homophonous with peace. 

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art including Jades from the De An Tang Collection and Gardens of Pleasure – Erotic Art from the Bertholet Collection, Hong Kong, 29 April 2022