• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1976

    Fine Chinese Ceramics And Works Of Art

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 636

    A FINE PEACHBLOOM-GLAZED BRUSH WASHER, TANGLUO XI

    KANGXI SIX-CHARACTER MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1662-1722)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A FINE PEACHBLOOM-GLAZED BRUSH WASHER, TANGLUO XI
    KANGXI SIX-CHARACTER MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1662-1722)
    The compressed globular body covered on the exterior with a glaze of crushed strawberry tone with minute brown spots (jiangdou hong) in contrast to the white rim and interior
    4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm.) diam., wood stand, box


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    This type of brush washer is described as of 'gong' shape or tangluo xi, as it has a very compressed body.

    This washer belongs to an exclusive group of eight vessel shapes that are covered in this extremely desirable peachbloom glaze. Known as the ba da ma or 'Eight Great Numbers', the sets were especially devised in these classic forms to serve as requisite appointments for the Emperor's writing table. Complete sets are extremely rare, with one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, illustrated by S. Valenstein, The Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, rev. ed., p. 237; and another from the Jingguantang Collection, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 3 November 1996, lot 557 and now in the Baur Collection, Geneva.

    Similar brush washers have been widely published and are in numerous public and private collections. John Ayers in the transcript of his lecture, "The 'Peachbloom' Wares of the Kangxi period (1662-1722)", TOCS, vol. 64, 1999-2000, pp. 31-50, provides a thorough discussion of peachbloom wares, as well as wares of similar shape with pale celadon and pale blue glazes. He notes that Stephen Bushell in Oriental Ceramic Art, new edition, London, 1981, describes various shades of the peachbloom glaze, one of which is jiangdou hong (bean red), "in an allusion to the small Chinese kidney bean, with its variegated pink colour and brown spots". He goes on to suggest, p. 49, that these wares, rather than having been made exclusively for the use of the Kangxi emperor, may have been presented as gifts to members of the court on important court occasions.

    Whatever the case may be, these wares have always been and continue to be highly prized.

    Provenance

    Edward T. Chow.
    M.C. Wang Collection, China, formed through the 1940s, and thence by descent to the present owners.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM AN ASIAN FAMILY COLLECTION


    Literature

    H.D. Ling and E.T. Chow, Collection of Chinese Ceramics from the Hall of Leisurely Pastime, vol. II, Hong Kong, privately printed, 1950, one of no. 120 in the catalogue.