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    Sale 1976

    Fine Chinese Ceramics And Works Of Art

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 576

    A RARE BLUE AND WHITE WARMING BOWL

    MING DYNASTY, LATE 15TH CENTURY, PROBABLY CHENGHUA PERIOD

    Price Realised  

    A RARE BLUE AND WHITE WARMING BOWL
    MING DYNASTY, LATE 15TH CENTURY, PROBABLY CHENGHUA PERIOD
    The deep, rounded sides and concave top enclosing a hollow interior which holds hot water when filled from a circular aperture in the base that would have been plugged after filling, the exterior delicately painted with a continuous, undulating stem bearing six lily blossoms, while the dished top is painted with a central lingzhi sprig surrounded by five florets below a band of auspicious emblems alternating with flower sprigs, all interspersed with tiny cloud scrolls
    6½ in. (16.4 cm.) diam., box


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    The style of decoration on the exterior of this unusual warming bowl is very similar to that found on 'palace bowls' of the Chenghua period, such as the example decorated with mallow blossoms in the Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, illustrated by D. Lion-Goldschmidt, Ming Porcelain, New York, 1978, p. 100, pl. 66. The author refers to the decoration on these bowls as "garlands of flowers - lilies, hibiscus, mallow, gardenias - in a style hitherto unknown". The style of painting is not as bold as earlier blue and white wares, nor does it show signs of 'heaping and piling', but rather is soft in tone and incorporates shaded washes. She goes on to say that the leaves accompanying these flowers did not always correspond to the flower represented, which sometimes makes it difficult to indentify the flower.

    A Chenghua 'palace bowl' in the Percival David Foundation has a very similar day lily scroll on the exterior to that seen on the Falk hot water bowl. Indeed, comparison of the Falk bowl with the illustration of the David Foundation 'palace bowl' published by R. Scott in Elegant Form and Harmonious Decoration - Four Dynasties of Jingdezhen Porcelain, Singapore, 1992, p. 52, no. 51, shows that the shape, placing and orientation of flowers and leaves on the two bowls are precisely the same. Day lilies were a popular motif in Chinese art, since they are supposed to banish grief, while a pregnant women who wore day lilies would be expected to bear a male child.

    There are two hot water or warming bowls in the Percival David Foundation; see Illustrated Catalogue of Underglaze Blue and Copper Red Decorated Porcelains, Percival David Foundation, London, 1976, nos. 696 and A623, dated to the late 15th century and circa 1500, respectively. While the David Foundation bowls have attractive and lively decoration, neither is of the fine quality of the present bowl. This is also true of a hot water bowl with sketchy painted decoration similar to that of the David Foundation example in the Victoria and Albert Museum illustrated by R. Kerr, ed., Chinese Art and Design, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1991, p. 23, where it is dated to the period 1475-1500.

    Provenance

    Carl Kempe Collection, no. 758.
    Bluett & Sons, London.
    The Falk Collection; Christie's, New York, 20 September 2001, lot 138.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A NEW YORK COLLECTION


    Exhibited

    Copenhagen, The Museum of Decorative Arts, Exhibition of Chinese Art, 1950, no. 448.