• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2130

    Chinese Export Porcelain

    21 January 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 50

    A VERY RARE SPOTTED CAT

    QIANLONG PERIOD

    Price Realised  

    A VERY RARE SPOTTED CAT
    QIANLONG PERIOD
    The feline stretched out low with talons curled, her head turned back towards a blue-green cricket that has alighted on her back, her jaws open revealing tiny teeth, fangs and tongue, her nose purple and her coat a washy iron-red with "pawprint" patches in black and brown on white, belly and chest white
    8 5/8 in. (22 cm.) long


    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

    Cats were clearly part of domestic Chinese life from early times, and, like dogs, seem to have been as beloved in 18th century China as in the West. Cats are found in export ceramics first as nightlights, such as the Transitional period blue and white example found in the first Hatcher cargo (sold Christie's, Amsterdam, 14 March 1984, lot 279 and the cover of the catalogue.) Cats are seen in 18th century blanc-de-chine and in figure groups like lot 121 in this sale; later examples include a black and white spotted cat in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (W.R. Sargent, The Copeland Collection, Salem, 1991, p. 236) and in the James E. Sowell collection (M. Cohen and W. Motley, Mandarin and Menagerie, Surrey, 2008, p. 158.) Never becoming the standard models that puppies did, cats seem to have been more one-off production. This example shows "pawprint" markings much like those found on some Qianlong period porcelain puppies