Lot 28. A famille rose 'Hou Yi' brushpot, bitong, Late Kangxi-early Yongzheng; 11.4cm (4 1/2in) high. Sold for £12,750 (Est: £6,000 - £8,000). © Bonhams 2001-2022
Brightly enamelled around the exterior with Hou Yi carrying a bow while gazing at the red sun above, beside him two boys, one proffering food the other holding a vase with flowers, all within a balustraded garden with gnarled pine, with red half-leaf maker's mark.
Provenance: The Oriental Art Gallery Ltd., London, 15 June 1994.
Note: Hou Yi (后羿) was a mythological archer, also typically given the title of 'Lord Archer'. According to Chinese mythology, there were originally ten suns that would scorch the earth. The mythical King Yao asked Hou Yi to rein in the suns. At first, Hou Yi tried to reason with the suns; then he pretended to shoot at them with his bow to intimidate them; then finally he began to shoot down the suns one by one, leaving only one sun left. As a reward, Hou Yi was gifted the pill of Immortality by the Gods, which the present lot shows him holding.
See a painting with similar design of an archer, surrounded by children, 18th century, in the Musée des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet, Paris, illustrated in Children in Chinese Art, Honolulu, 2002, p.154.