• Important Chinese Ceramics and auction at Christies

    Sale 2731

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    1 December 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1885

    A FINE AND RARE UNDERGLAZE-RED AND BLUE-DECORATED 'APPLE-FORM' WATER POT AND IMPERIAL STAND

    Price Realised  

    A FINE AND RARE UNDERGLAZE-RED AND BLUE-DECORATED 'APPLE-FORM' WATER POT AND IMPERIAL STAND
    KANGXI SIX-CHARACTER MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1662-1722)

    The tapering bulbous body painted in pencilled lines in underglaze-red of crushed-strawberry tone with four stylised flower stems, including lotus, peony, chrysanthemum and rose, each centering a leafy stem with scrolling tendrils, above a band of petal tips within fine blue-line borders, the sunken mouth rim encircled by bands of classic and foliate scroll separated by a delicate double-blue line border
    3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm.) diam., stand, box


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    When the Kangxi Emperor came to the throne he immediately began to show an interest in the production of imperial porcelain. Even before he dispatched a commission to report on the state of the imperial kilns and subsequently to rebuild them, the kilns working for the court were encouraged to experiment, improve and to rediscover lost skills. One of the lost skills rediscovered, even as early as the 1670s, was producing underglaze copper-red porcelain.

    Not content with rediscovering the technique of painting and firing underglaze-red, potters during the Kangxi reign experimented with new styles. One of the most successful of these new styles was that of painting formal designs using very fine outlines. Firing underglaze copper-red is very difficult, requiring the precise control of heat, kiln atmosphere and air circulation in the kiln, as well as the careful preparation of the copper pigment itself.

    Other waterpots of this exact shape and painting style from important collections are published: one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Kangxi Yongzheng Qianlong, Beijing, 1989, p. 39, pl. 22; one from the C.P. Lin collection included in the exhibition, Elegant Form and Harmonious Decoration, Percival David Foundation, London, 1992, is illustrated by R. Scott, no. 113; another illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. II, London, 1994, p. 108, no. 733; and one in the Shanghai Museum, in Underglaze Blue and Red, Shanghai, 1987, pl. 118. Compare, also, the water pot from the Edward T. Chow collection, sold at Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 19 May 1981, lot 540; two sold at Christie's Hong Kong, Important Qing Porcelain from the Yuen Family collection, 30 April 2000, lot 591 and 28 April 2003, lot 572; and lastly, two examples from the Edward T. Chow collection were sold at Christie's New York, 19 September 2007, lot 391 and 19 March 2008, lot 644.

    Provenance

    Previously sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 1 November 1994, lot 173, and again, 31 October 2004, lot 172


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTOR


    Literature

    Sotheby's, Thirty Years in Hong Kong: 1973-2003, Hong Kong, 2003, pl. 293