A moulded Longquan celadon 'peacock' garden stool, 14th - early 15th century

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Lot 141. A moulded Longquan celadon 'peacock' garden stool, 14th - early 15th century; h. 37 cm. Lot sold: 2,268,000 HKD (Estimate: 200,000 - 300,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2022

in the form of a well-proportioned drum, sturdily potted, the top carved in relief with a large flower head, encircled by a continuous floral scroll, the bulging sides decorated with three peacocks in different poses - one standing proudly, another flying with grace, and a third combing its feathers - surrounded by peonies and plantain leaves in a garden setting completed with jaggy rockwork, beneath a classic scroll band, all between borders of raised bosses and further floral scrolls, the unglazed footring burnt orange in the firing.

ProvenanceBluett & Sons Ltd, London, 29th October 1991.

Note: Barrel-shaped garden stools, such as the present example, were known as zuodun in Chinese, or xiudun ('embroidery seat') because they were often covered with decorative brocaded cushions for added comfort. The form simulates a drum with a nailed drumhead skin on the top and its origin can be traced to as early as the Song dynasty. While comparable Longquan examples can be found in museum and private collections, the present example is remarkable for its exceptional composition and workmanship of the relief decoration.

A larger Longquan garden stool carved with mythical animals in relief and supported on seven ruyi feet, attributed to the mid-late Ming dynasty, is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, and exhibited in Longquan of the World: Longquan Celadon and Globalization, vol. I: A History of Thousands of Years, Beijing, 2019, cat. no. 174, and back cover. The exhibition also included another footless drum-inspired stool of this size, but decorated with bajixiang in relief, also in the Palace Museum, Beijing, vol. II: cat. no. 172.

Sotheby's. HOTUNG  The Personal Collection of the late Sir Joseph Hotung: Part 1, Hong Kong, 9 October 2022