Porcelain decorated with the exquisite, subtle doucai enamels in the Chenghua period, were highly treasured both by the Ming and Qing courts. Few pieces rival the exacting quality of Chenghua 'chicken' cups which are finely potted and meticulously painted in soft enamels with a delightfully free and spontaneous scene of chickens tending to their chicks. While the theme of chickens is rarely used on porcelain decoration, a number of such cups were produced during the late Ming and Qing dynasties, in an attempt to recreate the fine and rare qualities of the famous prototype.
Compare the present lot with other Yongzheng chicken cups, a pair exhibited at the Min Chiu Society Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition, Selected Treasures of Chinese Art, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1990, no. 165; and one from the Sedgwick Collection, included in the O. C. S. Exhibition of the Arts of the Ch'ing Dynasty, London, 1964, no. 194. See, also, the three cups in the Edward T. Chow Collection, with Chenghua, Kangxi and Yongzheng marks, all illustrated together by M. Beurdeley, La Ceramique Chinoise, col. pls. 71 and 72.
Compare, also, the Yongzheng-marked example of similar size (8.2 cm.) sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 27 May 2008, lot 1587.