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    Sale 2027

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    17 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 498

    A VERY RARE BLANC-DE-CHINE FLUTE, XIAO

    17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A VERY RARE BLANC-DE-CHINE FLUTE, XIAO
    17TH CENTURY
    Made in the form of a slender hollow bamboo stalk pierced with five fingering holes on one side, one on the reverse and two opposite each other on the two other sides, the mouth piece formed by a short V cut, the flat sound end pierced with a cash symbol and applied on top of the rim with evenly spaced bosses, all under a glaze of milk-white tone
    22 in. (56 cm.) long, Japanese wood box and brocade pouch


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    Three different types of flute - the di, chi and the xiao, - were traditionally played in China. The current porcelain instrument is a rare xiao or vertical flute, molded in imitation of bamboo, at the Dehua kiln, Fujian province. P.J. Donnelly in Blanc de Chine - The Porcelain of Tehua in Fukien, London, 1969, p. 127, discussed the considerable difficulties of producing a flute with good tone out of porcelain, which shrinks considerably when fired.
    The dating of these Dehua flutes to the late Ming seems to have been confirmed by Donnelly. In discussing two vertical porcelain flutes from the collection of the late Professor Chen Te-k'un, Donnelly notes, op. cit., p. 126, pl. 68A, that those of late Ming date had their fundamental in d, while those of Qing date had their fundamental in f.
    A Dehua vertical flute made to resemble bamboo, like the current example, in the Koger Collection is illustrated by J. Ayers, in the exhibition catalogue, Blanc de Chine - Divine Images in Porcelain, China Institute Gallery, New York, 2002, p. 72, no. 23. An example of a xiao flute in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Zhongguo wenwu jinghua daquan - taoci juan, Taipei, 1993, p. 408, no. 818, is 57 cm. long.

    Provenance

    Meigasai (Myogasai) Collection.
    Chikken Collection, Osaka Bijutsu Club, 9 June 1935, lot 733.