• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12975

    Noble & Private Collections Part I

    2 November 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 44

    A RARE CHINESE 'VUNG TAO' 'CANAL HOUSES' GARNITURE

    KANGXI PERIOD, CIRCA 1690

    Estimate

    A RARE CHINESE 'VUNG TAO' 'CANAL HOUSES' GARNITURE
    KANGXI PERIOD, CIRCA 1690
    Comprising three baluster vases and covers and two beaker vases, depicting on one side Dutch-style houses, and on the other side flowers and foliage
    The vases and covers 25 ½ in. (65 cm.) high


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    Compare the very similar garniture from the Vung Tao Cargo and also of this large size, which is in the British Museum (BM 1992, 0605.1-5), illustrated in Passion for Porcelain, Masterpieces of Ceramics from the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, chief editor Lu Zhanshen, Beijing, 2012, p. 169, fig 1. Considerably smaller (33 cm. high), similarly-painted garnitures were sold Christie's Amsterdam,The Vung Tao Cargo, 7 & 8 April, 1992, lots 531 - 546.

    Provenance

    The Vung Tao Cargo, from a trading vessel which sank in circa 1690 off the coast of Con Dao Island, near the southern coast of Vietnam.


    Saleroom Notice

    This Lot is Withdrawn.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN COLLECTOR (LOTS 44 - 47)

    The following four lots represent a rare opportunity to acquire exceptional examples from The Vung Tao Cargo. The cargo was on board an Asian trading vessel which had left China and was probably bound for Batavia (present day Jakarta) which had been settled by the Dutch in 1619, and became the administrative centre for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Once in Batavia, the intention was most likely for it to be transferred onto Dutch supercargoes for the homeward journey to Holland. In circa 1690, the ship ran aground off the coast of Con Dao Island, not far from Vung Tao on the southern coast of Vietnam. In 1989, a fisherman discovered the wreck on the sea bed, and the salvage of the cargo was subsequently authorised by the Vietnamese Government. The fairly precise dating was made possible by the inclusion in the cargo of coins from the Kangxi reign, as well as a Chinese ink stick with a cyclical date corresponding to 1690.

    The porcelain in the Vung Tao Cargo is of particular significance and importance, setting it aside from other known shipwreck porcelain, because much of the porcelain was evidently intended for display in Dutch and other European grand houses and palaces, rather than for every-day use. The smaller pieces would have been used in architectural assemblages, while the larger examples, as in the following four lots, were used to ornament rooms and to dress imposing pieces of furniture. In addition, much of this cargo represented very early examples showing clear western inspiration both in shape and design, which was a new approach for the export trade, in some cases copying Western metal or glass prototypes which would have been sent to China on an earlier voyage. Indeed the design for the 'canal houses' may well have been taken from a Dutch engraving.

    Just over half the salvaged cargo was sold in Christie's Amsterdam, 7 & 8 April 1992.



    Exhibited

    Musée des Arts Asiatiques, Toulon, France, L'Asie des Collectionneurs, 29 March - 29 September 2013.