• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2389

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    27 November 2007, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1662

    AN IMPORTANT AND EXCEPTIONALLY RARE EARLY MING BLUE AND WHITE EWER, ZHIHU

    Price Realised  

    AN IMPORTANT AND EXCEPTIONALLY RARE EARLY MING BLUE AND WHITE EWER, ZHIHU
    YONGLE PERIOD (1403-1424)

    The pear-shaped body with an elegant curved spout, joined to the neck with a cloud-shaped strut opposite a ridged loop handle above three moulded bosses simulating pegs holding the handle in place, finely painted in attractive tones of cobalt to each side of the pear-shaped body with a quatrefoil medallion enclosing a leafy fruiting grape vine framed by chrysanthemum sprigs at the four corners, the spout further decorated with a lingzhi scroll, the neck with lingzhi in addition to bamboo, the handle with a lotus scroll, the base encircled with a band of overlapping upright plantain leaves above another border around the straight foot
    11 3/4in. (29.7cm.) high, box


    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

    Previously sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 October 1995, lot 695.

    The present ewer appears to be unique in its choice of the grapes motif decorating both sides of the ewer, as all known examples are decorated with differing fruiting branches within the quatrefoil panels. Known blue and white ewers are either decorated with a combination of loquats and peaches, or peaches and pomegranates. The former combination is a more frequently used design, and they include five examples: the first illustrated by T. Misugi, Chinese Porcelain Collections in the Near East, Topkapi and Ardebil, The Ardebil Shrine Collection, vol. III, p. 156, A.78; a ewer is in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in Underglaze Blue and Red, 1986, no. 42; in the History Museum of China, Beijing, illustrated in Zhongguo Meishu Quanji, vol. 3, Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 1988, no. 69; mounted with an Ottoman silver-gilt mounts of c. 1500, illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, vol. II, Yuan and Ming dynasty porcelains, 1986, p. 425, no. 618; and a ewer sold at Christie's London, 13 November 2001, lot 119.

    The alternative fruiting branch design is the combination of peaches and pomegranates within panels. Cf. examples in the B.S.N. Niigata Hoso Museum, Japan, illustrated in Mayuyama, Seventy Years, vol. I, Tokyo, 1976, p. 245, no. 736; an example sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 18 March 1991, lot 520; and another sold at Christie's London, 15 November 1998, lot 56. A further example is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red, (I), Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 2000, p. 43, no.41, although only the peach side is published.

    Two excavated examples dated to the Yongle period were included in the exhibition, Imperial Hongwu and Yongle Porcelain excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1996, p. 179, no. 58, decorated on both sides with peaches; and a ewer with loquats on one side and peaches on the other, p. 181, no. 59. The production of ewers of this type continued into the Xuande period, cf. a peach decorated ewer included in the exhibition, Imperial Porcelain of the Yongle and Xuande Periods, Excavated from the site of the Ming Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, Hong Kong, 1989, and illustrated in the Catalogue, p. 242, no. 80.

    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN


    Literature

    Chinese Art from the Ching Wan Society Collection, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1998, p.17, no.8