Enamel on Biscuit Porcelains

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enamel on biscuit porcelains

vanderven oriental art • the netherlands www.vanderven.com • info@vanderven.com


passion for enamel on biscuit We are pleased to present to you our third catalogue in this series. This time we have chosen to devote it specifically to enamel on biscuit porcelain from the 16th to the 19th century. My knowledge and love for this type of porcelain, was passed to me by my aunt and uncle, Neeltje and Clemens van der Ven, for which I will always remain thankful. With this in mind, I would like to especially dedicate this catalogue to Clemens, who passed away last year. Enamel on biscuit wares have always been a favourite specialist area of Vanderven Oriental Art; and in this capacity, we have been privileged to augment to collections in Europe and America during our 46 years in this business. Enamel on biscuit - or emaille sur biscuit - is not a well known or documented area of Chinese porcelain. It was made for export, as well as having been made for the Chinese market, where it was known as susancai (three-coloured wares). It differs from underglaze wares, as the biscuit is rougher and the glaze thicker and shinier, giving it a wonderful jewel-like appearance. I distinguish two types of biscuit wares, the freely decorated type and the more detailed type. On the free type you can see the unglazed biscuit and thick coloured glazes applied unevenly (cat. no. 5, 10, and 16). The refined type is more perfect in its finishing and more detailed in decoration (cat. no. 22, 25 and 27).

lead to a plethora of misdating in publications of that era, mistakes which seem so obvious to us now. Biscuit wares, were exceptionally popular again around the turn of the 20th century. Truly great collectors such as Bennett & Salting in the UK, Guimet & du Sartell in France and Morgan and Garland in the USA, all acquired enamel on biscuit porcelain for their legendary collections. Many of them later bequeathed to (or set up their own) museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum (New York), MusĂŠe Guimet (Paris) and the V&A (London). At this time, it was also the fashion to produce privately published and lavishly illustrated catalogues of these impressive collections - these rare books have now become collectables in their own right. Having researched these publications, we have managed to identify several objects which are now in our collection (cat. no. 25 and 27). In this catalogue we have also included several 19th century objects (cat. no. 30-33), as in our view this has now become a serious collecting area, as porcelain of such beauty and quality can no longer considered reproductions, but works of art in their own right. This catalogue will hopefully inspire you and reveal the beauty and unusual character of emaille sur biscuit porcelain wares. We invite you to join us in our great admiration for these beautiful objects, as did the great collectors in the generations before us! Floris van der Ven

Susancai porcelain reached its pinnacle of refinement and technical advancement during the Kangxi reign (1662-1722), after which production slowly faded. In the second half of the 19th century there was a revival in production and advancement in enamelling techniques. This resulted in pieces of such astounding quality, even the ceramics experts at that time had trouble distinguishing Kangxi objects from later examples. Inevitably this

Vanderven Oriental Art The Netherlands Tel. +31 (0)73 614 62 51 info@vanderven.com www.vanderven.com



enamels on biscuit rose kerr

Porcelain enamelled “on the biscuit” (i.e. without an intermediate layer of glaze) was manufactured at Jingdezhen from the 14th century onwards. The term is most commonly used, however, to describe artefacts made during the Kangxi reign (1662-1722), and decorated in a range of colours that favoured yellow, green, white, occasionally turquoise, and aubergine brown. The palette was sometimes employed later in the eighteenth century, and was revived in the nineteenth century. Technical and historical descriptions of the style are well attested, so in this essay I shall address the topics of subject and market. Objects decorated in enamels on biscuit were made in a variety of forms. The fact that a very large number of items entered Western collections from the late seventeenth century onwards, demonstrates the fact that they were exported. However, in comparison to early Qing porcelain decorated over the glaze in enamels (famille verte), the ratio was small. Famille verte porcelains tended to be larger in scale, and to be made in sets, e.g.as garnitures to place above doorways and on mantelpieces. Multiple runs of objects such as plates and teacups with saucers were

biscuit-enamelled pieces, by contrast, tended to be small in scale and to be made as singletons, or in limited numbers

made for Western dining and drinking. Biscuitenamelled pieces, by contrast, tended to be small in scale and to be made as singletons, or in limited numbers (e.g. bowls and dishes nos. 3, 4 and 17). These factors were not obviated by manufacturing or technical considerations, but resulted from their function. Many biscuit articles were destined for the scholar’s desk, or for a religious or ceremonial setting. In this manner, it is obvious that their primary market was not only for export, but also for domestic consumption. Originally they must have been utilised to fill up bulk orders on trading ships, a common practice for all types of wares. When it became obvious that their intricacy and novelty value delighted foreign buyers, they became a regular component of the export trade. Nonetheless, it is interesting to consider what their original intended destinations would have been, and towards this end we shall first consider religious and ceremonial context, and secondly employment on a scholar’s desk. Buddhism and Daoism The Chinese populace was both superstitious and religious during the early Qing dynasty, facets of behaviour and belief that are entirely understandable, for people lived in daily fear of disease, death, starvation and conflict. To assuage their fears, and to propitiate the forces that seemed to control their daily lives, people naturally turned to religion. Chinese people could be Buddhist, Daoist or Confucian in their beliefs, and very commonly paid due diligence to all three. In addition to worship in public temples, most people had domestic shrines at home, dedicated to the gods of Buddhism and Daoism, to Confucian dignitaries, to ancestors, and to fairy sprites and domestic spirits.


In the context of Buddhism, biscuit statuettes of the Bodhisattva Guanyin are common. Bodhisattvas are Buddhist deities who attain nirvana, but chose not to progress onwards to the realms of bliss, rather remaining to assist other mortals achieve ultimate enlightenment. Thus they personify helpful and merciful qualities, values especially associated with Guanyin “the Compassionate Bodhisattva�. Guanyin is commonly shown carrying a fly whisk, to wave away flies that Buddhist tenets do not permit to be killed, and a bottle containing the ambrosia of eternal life (no. 6). Originally a male god, her depiction changed sex sometime in the fifteenthsixteenth century, thus allowing her to join a small and immensely popular pantheon of female deities. Other Buddhist figures with close ties to human beings were luohan, the Chinese name for monks attendant on the Buddha. They were often displayed as large statues, placed in two rows along the east and west walls of the chief hall in a temple, which is possibly where the attractive Ming figure originally


sat (no. 1). Cheaper, miniature sets of luohan, such as the two figures (no. 13), were created from identical moulds. They were customised to represent individual monks by modelling different postures and attributes. They even have blue eyes, tiny features filled in using cobalt blue. Ubiquitous among figurines are Buddhist lions, fashioned in male and female pairs, the female with a cub and the male resting his paw on a brocaded ball (nos. 16 and 22). Images of lions guarding the Buddha throne entered China via the Silk Route during the Six Dynasties period (220-580), and paired male and female lions went on to become iconic guardian figures at the gates of palaces, official buildings and temples. By the Qing dynasty smaller images in porcelain had become playful, the lions looking more like Pekingese dogs than ferocious wild beasts. Many references to Buddhism are seen in everyday objects, such as the turquoise brushwasher in the form of the fat, laughing Buddha called Budai

small brushwashers in organic forms are a popular staple of biscuit-glazed porcelain

(literally “hemp sack”, for he is often shown leaning on a such a sack) (no. 29). This aspect of the Buddha was widely popular in China as early as the tenth century, for a fat belly was equated with eating well and thus a happy life. Daoist iconography and ideas are also common in biscuit wares. The fine figure on horseback (no. 27) is the deity Guan Di, one of the most important figures in Chinese mythology and popular culture. His image comes from an historical figure, Guan Yu (c. 161-220), a general who helped Liu Bei to establish the Shu Han dynasty in AD 221. After his death, he was venerated as a loyal and righteous figure, until he was given the title of Emperor (Di) in AD 1594. With the name Guan Di, he was worshipped in temples and households as the Daoist God of War and patron of honest merchants. In addition to large statues placed in city temples, smaller wooden or porcelain images of Guan Di were made for worship on household altars. This small biscuit figure is depicted in martial aspect, wearing full armour. He strikes a theatrical pose similar to those seen in Chinese opera, and his curled hands probably originally held a sword. Other figures include the Eight Daoist Immortals, who are depicted travelling across the sea, employing their magic powers and bearing special attributes, on the outside of the bowl (no. 2). They are also seen crossing the ocean to attend a special party hosted by the Royal Lady of the West, on an exquisite miniature boat (no. 30). The piece is marked as being made by Chen Guozhi. Chen Guozhi (c.1800-1860) was a skilled craftsman famous for his meticulous carved porcelain style. One of the three Daoist Star Gods, deities linked by astrologers to planets and stars in the sky, holds an ingot denoting wealth and robes painted with the

character for “long life” (no. 26). He wears scholar’s robes and hat, as does another figure who possibly originally held a scroll (no. 7). The Lucky Twins, their name in Chinese making a pun with wishes for harmony and thus a happy marriage, make another clear link with folk Daoism. One of the Twins is shown holding a tablet decorated with the yinyang pictogram (no. 14). Wishes for longevity are embodied in the decoration of cranes and pine trees (no. 21), for both the bird and the tree live for a long time. The models of mountains (nos. 8, 10) are not simply pastoral scenes, but are associated with the mountainous Gardens of Paradise inhabited by Daoist Immortals. One such was the West Flower Paradise ruled over by the Royal Lady of the West, the queen of the female Immortals. It contained an enchanted palace with beautiful pagodas and halls built of marble and jasper, a nine-storied tower, sparkling brooks and waterfalls, and a magical garden. There the Royal Lady of the West cultivated herbs and plants that conferred everlasting life, including a famous tree with peaches of longevity. In one of China’s folk tales Sun Wugong “The Monkey King” steals and eats the peaches of immortality. On one biscuit mountain (no.10) a seated monkey figure can clearly be seen. It is interesting that these biscuit-enamelled porcelain mountains appear to predate similar mountains in jade, ivory and carved bamboo, that became popular in the mid-late eighteenth century. Several modelled elements of the mountains, for example pavilions, figures and rocks, were used interchangeably on objects with quite separate functions, such ornamental items and brushwashers used on scholars’ desks (nos. 9, 11, 21). This suggests that they were manufactured in the same workshop or workshops at Jingdezhen, within a fairly limited time period. It is purely conjectural (without more detailed archaeological evidence), but quite possible, that such workshops were clustered together. Moreover, judging from the quality and function of biscuit objects, it is also probable that such businesses operated at the higher end of the manufacturing market.


reflection of the moon (no. 18). Two charming cups shaped like ducks with lotus leaves offer the wish that the owner should be paired happily for life with a spouse (no. 12), while the oblong box with a lion acting as handle on the lid could have been used for many things, including as a container for ink cakes and sticks (no. 15). A turquoise-glazed brush pot was employed to store brushes when not in use, tip upwards (no. 29). Its openwork form imitates carved bamboo, another material appreciated by scholars. While actually writing or painting, a scholar would rest lean their wet brush tip upwards on a stand, to avoid marking the paper or silk. The brushrest (no. 31) is shaped like a range of five mountain peaks, an auspicious number and also a reference to the mountain scenery that literati loved. A very unusual piece is the large scroll weight (no. 28), which when placed on top of a sheet of paper or silk, or used to weigh down an unrolled scroll, would keep the surface flat.

Objects for the Scholar’s Desk We have already mentioned the Buddha-and mountain-shaped brushwashers, used to contain water for cleansing soft-haired brushes after painting or writing. Small brushwashers in organic forms are a popular staple of biscuit-glazed porcelain, such as those modelled as lotus pods and leaves (no. 5). The lotus is one of the few plants whose seed pods are already evident when the flowers begin to bloom, and to Chinese people this excellent omen augurs the early arrival of sons. Crabs symbolise success in passing the civil service examinations, an appropriate emblem for a scholar’s waterpot. One of the crab waterpots being offered here is glazed inside, the other unglazed and stained with ink, showing that it was actually used for cleaning inky brushes (no.19). The brushwasher in human form depicts the famous Tang dynasty poet Li Bai (701-762) leaning against his wine jar, for Li Bai was best known for the extravagant imagination of his verse and his great love of alcohol. The unfortunate poet is said to have drowned in the Yangtze River, having fallen from his boat while drunkenly trying to embrace the


An elegant stand has legs painted to mimic carved wood or bamboo, while its top is shaped like a ruyi , a form encapsulating the wish that everything should be “what is wished-for” (no. 24). Such a stand could have been placed under a vase or jar, but could also have been used as a tidy-all for small implements on the desk. Another oblong stand with incurving legs imitates the shape of hardwood stands for scholars’ desk paraphernalia (no. 32). The two vases probably formed part of a garniture that also included differently-shaped vases or jars, and possibly candlesticks (nos. 25, 33). The square vase imitates the shape of an archaic bronze form called gu, and is decorated with Daoist trigrams. Both shape and decoration would have been incomprehensible to a European buyer in the 17th-18th centuries. The 19th century vase with dragon handles also imitates ancient bronze, and its “famille noire” style of decoration formed part of a decorative schema much favoured by European and American collectors in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. Thus both vases epitomise objects that were manufactured in Chinese idiom, but also exported to the West.

素三彩 柯玫瑰 所謂“素三彩”,指在未上釉的素胎上,施以黃、綠、茄紫為主諸色燒製而成的瓷器(注: “三”意即多,素三彩不限於三種顏色,亦有白、黑等,但不用紅色)。該工藝始於 十四世 纪,鼎盛於清康熙 之後少有燒造,清末民國曾出現復興及仿製,終無法企及前朝水準。 素三彩瓷形制多樣,清康熙以降大量為西方所收藏,可見當時有大批出口海外,然而数量不及 清早期的釉上彩瓷“五彩”(亦称“硬彩”)。后者通常大批量成套生产,如用作通道及壁爐 牆面裝飾,而成套的物品(如盤碟茶盞)則顯然為西人飲食起居定製。素三彩則相反,器型往 往較小,且通常單件製作,數量有限(如圖冊中編號3、4、20的碗碟)。 硬彩與素三彩數量多寡的差異,並非出於生產工藝的考量,而是由於這些器具的功用不同。研 究表明,素三彩器通常用作文人雅士的案頭擺設或是宗教儀式的配置。從這點來看,素三彩的 主要消費市場在中國國內。它們最初出現在出口貨船上,是用作填補大宗訂單的缺口,這種做 法常見於瓷器貿易。當新穎脫俗的素三彩引起西方市場的注意和興趣後,便逐漸成為中國出口 瓷的常規品種。當初這些素三彩瓷的買家是誰是值得探究的話題,而本文主要討論素三彩器的 宗教儀式功用(圖冊 編號1、2、6、7、8、9、10、11、13、14、16、21、22、26、27、 30)及文房案頭陳設(圖冊編號 5、12、15、17、18、19、23、24、25、28、29、31、 32、33)。


1. seated luohan This figure made of glazed pottery, represents a Luohan seated on rockwork with one hand resting on a raised knee. He is dressed in loose fitting robes, secured with a ring fastening. The face has a serene, contemplative expression and on the forehead is an urna – symbolizing wisdom. Large scale ceramic glazed figures, such as this one, were mainly produced for religious purposes and were once part of temple decoration schemes. 16 or 18 Luohans such as these, would be placed in rows flanking either side of the main hall of the temple. Luohan – or Arhat - were the disciples of Buddha, who having attained enlightenment were free of the cycle of reincarnation. They were seen as sages and revered as minor deities. They are mostly depicted as elderly monks with shaved heads. Each has its own characteristics and can often be recognized by their attributes, much like Christian disciples. Buddhism was first introduced into China from north-eastern India, through Nepal and Tibet, during the Han Dynasty, around the first century AD. By the Ming Period it had divided into two main branches: Mahayana in China, Korea and Japan and Hinayana being more prevalent in south-east Asia. The Mahayana concentrates on universal enlightenment, which has many affinities with Daoism and could therefore be easily assimilated into Chinese culture. Doaism is an indigenous Chinese religion and emphasizes personal freedom and harmony with nature. This figure would have been moulded in sections, finished by hand and fired in specially built small kilns. The production process was similar to that of funerary figures and tiles form the same period. The typical three coloured glazes – aubergine, yellow and green- were already in use as early as the Tang Dynasty and is referred to as sancai (three colour) glaze.


Literature: Boulay 1984 p. 181, pl 6 Harrison-Hall 2001, p. 537-543 Riddel 1979, p. 124 Welch 2008, p. 197 Williams 1976, p. 157-168

Seated Luohan China, Ming Dynasty, 16th Century H: 61 cm Provenance: Private collection UK 羅漢坐像(明代) 高:61厘米 來源:英國私人收藏


2. incense burner The small deep bowl has a slightly flared rim and stands on a high foot. The slightly bulbous body is decorated in high relief with two groups of four miniature figures, representing the Eight Daoist Immortals, on a roughly incised background. Each group is separated by a stylized mask on either side of the bowl. The rim and foot-ring are incised with curling scrolls and covered in a thin green glaze. The body is decorated with a splashed aubergine, green and yellow glaze – also known as Spinach and Egg or hupiban decoration. The inside of the censer has no decoration, only a thin layer of colourless glaze. The Eight Immortals (Baxian) are recognizable by their long robes and the attributes that they each carry. This popular Chinese group, comprises of seven men and one woman and represent the attainment of the Daoist ideal: immortality. The search for immortality and its stories of magic peaches, fungi and longevity elixirs, are all encapsulated in the magical tales surrounding these eight figures. This censer was probably produced at the end of the Ming Dynasty when small white, as well as underglaze blue, wares were decorated with miniature figures moulded in high relief. Examples can be found in the collections of The Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) and The Peabody Essex Museum (Salem). Similar Spinach and Egg decorated censers can be found in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool (Accession No. LL6657) and the Metropolitan Museum, New York (Accession No’s 50.145.299 & 45.42.2). A covered bowl with similar decoration is depicted in a Berlin exhibition catalogue in 1929.

Literature Berlin 1929, p. 264 no. 695 Jörg & van Campen 1997, 49, no. 31 Sargent 2012, p. 73-75 Vinhais & Welsh 2012, p. 92 Welch 2008, p. 176

Incense Burner China, Ming Dynasty, Mid 17th Century H: 8.5 cm ø: 8.9 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK 香爐(明代) 高:8.5厘米;直徑:8.9厘米 來源:英國私人收藏



3. miniature dishes

The small deep porcelain dishes are decorated in an overall yellow glaze on the biscuit, in the style similar to that of a brinjal bowl. On the inside there is an incised decoration of white narcissus blooms, with green stalks, growing from their bulb. The outsides of the dishes are decorated with three small lingzhi fungus, in an aubergine colour, surrounded by green leaves. The Narcissus is a symbol for good fortune and prosperity and an important flower for the Chinese New Year. It is also called the ‘water immortal flower’ (shuixianhua), and is therefore a symbol for the immortals. A clump of narcissus, as in these plates, stands for a group of immortals. The lingzhi fungus motif on the outside is a symbol for wish granting, as well as longevity. These dishes could therefore have been made for a birthday, wishing the recipient a long life.

Literature Ayres 2004, pl. 103 & 107 Bartholomew 2006 , p. 187 & 201 Butler, Medley & Little 1990, p. 179, pl. 123 Scagliola 2012, p. 243, pl. 242 Vinhais & Welsh 2012, p. 74 nr. 6

Miniature Dishes China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) ø: 7.3 cm Provenance: Private Collection, Belgium 黃地小碟一對(清康熙早期) 直徑:7.3厘米 來源:比利時私人收藏



4. brinjal bowl A bowl in the same colour palette is depicted in the Eumorfopolous Collection Catalogue (nr. D197) and another is in the Gulexuan Collection (Germany). Literature Ayres 2004, pl.106 Bartholomew 2006, p. Hobson 1925- 1928, nr. D197, pl. XLVII Jörg 1995, pl. 6 Krahl & von Spee 2003, nr. 92 Little 1984, p. 43 nr. 6 Scagliola 2012, p. 241, pl. 239 Vinhais & Welsh 2012, p. 78 nr. 8

This unusual white bowl, is decorated on the outside with an incised coloured decoration, of auberginebrown prunus branches, with yellow blossom and green leaves. The inside of the bowl has a single aubergine coloured lingzhi fungus, with two green blades of grass. The underside has a double ring with a square shop mark in cobalt blue. Bowls of this type are made of thinly glazed biscuit porcelain, with incised decoration and coloured glazes in a limited palette. This group of wares are generically described as Brinjal bowls. The earliest known bowls of this type, are dated to the early transitional period (1620’s). But production continued for several decades well into the Kangxi period (second half of the 17th century). These bowls either have a conical shape, or as in this case, a more rounded shape with a flaring upper rim. Brinjal bowls are known with green or yellow ground, but also more rarely with brown or white ground. The name Brinjal derives from an old AngloIndian word for aubergine, and may have been adopted because of the aubergine-brown colour employed in the decoration.


Brinjal Bowl China, early Kangxi period (1662 – 1722) H: 9 cm ø: 19.2 cm Provenance: Private Collection, The Netherlands, 2007 白地三彩碗(清康熙早期) 高:9厘米;直徑:19.2厘米 來源:荷蘭私人收藏(2007年)


5. lotus water droppers The Lotus is of particular importance in Chinese folklore, due to its great symbolic value, as well as its associations with Buddhism. The Chinese word for lotus, lian (莲), is phonetically identical with lian, meaning to bind or connect. The seedpod (lianfang), bursting with seeds, is an emblem of fertility and the arrival of sons. This plant is an often used symbol of purity and resilience, as its flowers emerge unstained from the surrounding muddy waters. Thus it forms an apt metaphor for the poor scholar who could achieve success by passing the imperial examinations. The lotus is also a well known symbol of Buddhism, representing purity and enlightenment, Buddhist deities are therefore often shown sitting or standing on a lotus. It is also one of the eight Buddhist precious things.

These two pairs of water droppers, are naturalistically modelled in the shape of lotus seedpods with the lotus leaves forming a small bowl. Around the bottom and up the side, the plant’s rhizomes are realistically moulded. The seedpods, are enamelled on the biscuit in aubergine-brown on the outside and green on top. One pair has green leaves on the outside and are yellow within. The other pair has similar moulded and veined leaves, but are in the reverse colour palette. On the inside of each bowl is a small leaf or shell, under which is a small hole to fill the seedpod reservoir with water. The top of the pod also has a small aperture trough which the water can be dispensed. Water droppers are typical objects found on a Chinese scholars desk. They were used for dropping small amounts of water on an ink stone, to dissolve it for use. Other writing tools found on a scholars desk would include a brush, ink-stone and paper. Further typical scholar’s accoutrements included objects such as brush pots, brush rests, seals and seal paste boxes.

Similar objects can be found in the Collection Ernst Grandidier in Musée Guimet (G914 & 2402) and the collection of Marie Vergottis. Literature Ayres 2004, pl. 87 Bartholomew 2006, p. 72, nr. 3.18 Desroches 1993, pl. 7, 43 en 45 Rinaldi 1993, p. 59 Scagliola 2012, pl. 271 Vinhais & Welsh 2012, p. 112-119

Lotus Water Droppers China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 4.5cm L: 11.5 cm H: 5 cm L: 11.5-10.5 cm Provenance: Private Collection, France 蓮形硯滴一對(清康熙早期) 高:4.5厘米;長:11.5厘米 高:5厘米;長:11.5-10.5厘米 來源:法國私人收藏



6. seated guanyin as well as worldly thoughts. In the other hand she holds a lotus leaf with a pearl - the mani - a symbol of Buddha and his doctrines. The mani pearl was said to remain always clean and bright, shedding light on all surrounding objects. It is part of the Sanskrit mantra om mani padme hum (“Jewel in the Lotus”) which is the Buddhist chant of universal compassion. In China, figures of Guanyin were often used for private devotional purposes. Smaller representations would have been placed on the family house altar. In the back of the figure there is a circular hole, which could have been used to place relics or religious texts. Similar seated Guanyin figures, in sancai enamels can be found in the Laura Collection and the collection of Marie Vergottis. This figure of the Bodhisattva Guanyin is seated on a slim base, with one knee raised and a bare foot peeping out from under her robes. Her face has a serene expression and her hair is bound into a top knot, which is covered by a cloth. She has her robes loosely wrapped around her and in her hands, she holds a fly-whisk and a lotus branch. The flowing robes are decorated with the three coloured (sancai) enameling typical on this type of biscuit wares: yellow, aubergine- brown and green. The face and body are left white and are covered in a thin transparent glaze. The figure of Guanyin, a popular Chinese interpretation of the Indian Buddhist bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, mostly represented in the female form, is the goddess of mercy and compassion. This Guanyin figure is seated in the position known as ‘Royal Ease’ (Mahrajalilasana), which is characterized by an arm resting on a raised knee and a foot resting on her seat. The horsetail fly-whisk she carries is a symbol of grace and elegance, as well as Buddhist altruism. Whisks could be used to brush away both insects


Literature Avitabile 1992, p. 168 nr. 344 Ayres 2004, pl. 112 Scagliola 2012, pl. 249 Vinhais & Welsh 2012, p. 206 Welch 2008, p. 201 & 258 Williams 1978, p. 238 & 258

Seated Guanyin China, Early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 17.8 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK 觀音坐像(清康熙早期) 高:17.8厘米 來源:英國私人收藏


7. shouxing This cheerful seated figure is decorated in three coloured enamel on biscuit. His face, hands, feet and base are left uncoloured and have a thin transparent glaze. He is dressed in a green robe with yellow undergarments, cinched at the waist with a brown belt. His shoes peep out from under the hem and on his head he wears a large yellow hat. The figure represents the Daoist deity Lao Shouxing, also referred to as Shou Lao, the God of Longevity. He is one of the three auspicious Daoist Star Gods known collectively as Fulushou Sanxing. The other two gods are Fuxing, God of Good Fortune (generally depicted holding a child) and Luxing, God of Prosperity and Rank (dressed as an official holding a narrow tablet or sceptre). Shouxing represents longevity and is therefore portrayed as a jolly elderly man with long beard, earlobes and eyebrows, all Chinese symbols of great old age. He is also often characterized by his prominent cranium, his staff or depicted holding a peach. In this case he is holding a ruyi sceptre. These ruyi ( ru 如 yi 意) - or ‘wish granting’ - scepters were believed to be a symbol of luck and prosperity, as well as a symbol of power. Over time the shape of the ruyi head, came to resemble that of a lingzhi fungus – which is known amongst Daoists as the immortality fungus. This is why such scepters are often seen being carried by deities such as this one. Comparable figures can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( Acc Nr 6515554 & 6515555) and the collection of Marie Vergottis. Similar figures of Shouxing and Luxing were also in the Anthony de Rothschild Collection.

Literature Ayres 2004, pl. 117 Bartholomew 2006, p. 184 Krahl 1996, p. 378 Ströber 2011, p. 160 Vinhais & Welsh 2012, p. 206 Welch 2008, p. 50 & 159

Shouxing China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 22.2 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK 壽星像(清康熙早期) 高:22厘米 來源:英國私人收藏



8. rockwork mountains A pair of thickly potted enamel on biscuit porcelain mountains on a circular base. They are richly embellished with miniature figures, pavilions, gates, trees and small animals. A path with steps goes around the open rugged rocks leading through grottoes, into various pagoda’s, up to the tiered temple at the top. Imposing pine trees with yellow trunks and bushy bunches of green needles, grow up the side of the mountain. It is glazed in the sancai palette of aubergine, green and yellow enamels. The buildings are largely left uncoloured, so the white biscuit body shows. This type of mountain is representative of an idealised sacred Daoist mountain. A miniature representation of the Daoist ideals of being in harmony with natural forces. An intellectual fantasy of an ideal life in retirement, close to nature. A Chinese garden often held miniature natural elements like rocks, water features (streams and waterfalls), as well as architectural elements (bridges and pavilions). These were all essential elements of the scholars garden, forming a microcosm of universe itself, in which he could meditate. These models can also be viewed as a three-dimensional variant of the Chinese landscape paintings with the same subject of figures in a mountainous landscape. Porcelain mountains were most probably used indoors for contemplation and enjoyment in a scholar’s study, much like real rocks or carved jade boulders. As such they would have evoked an idyllic mountain retreat. Even though this type of object was not intended for export, some would have made their way into European collections as an exotic curiosity.

displayed on a mantelpiece. Single examples can be found in The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Inv. Nr. AKMAK 592) and the Laura Collection (Italy). A smaller rockwork mountain is in the Swedish Royal Collection at Drottingholm Palace, and was included in the 1777 inventory. Another smaller mountain was in the Eumorfopolous Collection catalogued by Hobson in 1925. Literature Bondy 1923, p. 150 Hay 1985, p. 16-32 Hobson1925 - 1928, pl. XXXVII - E189 Jörg & van Campen 1997, p. 185 Morena 2005, p. 134 & 220-221 Scagliola 2005, p. 245 Setterwall 1974, p. 169 Ströber 2011, p. 221 Welch 2008, p. 64

Rockwork Mountains China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 45 cm ø: 25 cm Provenance: The Chinese Porcelain Co., New York, 2013 Roy Mottahedeh, Brookline MA, 2011 Raffi & Mildred Mottahedeh, New York, 1982 假山小景一對(清康熙早期) 高:45厘米;直徑:25厘米

Pairs of these mountains are extremely rare, only Museo degli Argenti (Florence) has a pair formerly in the Medici Collection. Walter Bondy depicts a pair


來源:美國紐約中國瓷器公司(2013年) 美國麻省羅伊·莫塔赫德(2011年) 美國紐約拉菲·莫塔赫德夫婦(1982年)




9. miniature landscape A comparable example can be found in the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem) and the Laura Collection (Italy). The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, has a similar shape mountain with a figure of Guanyin. This type of object also occurs with a basin in the front, which would have been used as a brush washer (see nr. 11 in this catalogue). Literature Eberhard 1988, p. 157-158 Jörg & van Campen 1997, p. 184 Rawson 2007, p. 39 & fig. 18 Sargent 2012, p. 250 nr. 247 Scagliola 2005, p. 247 Vinhais & Welsch 2012, p. 200-205

This model of a landscape with a mountain, stands on a high semi circular plinth. Amongst the high craggy rockery, enamelled in aubergine brown, stands a miniature figure of a mandarin in yellow robes and a black hat. There are two pagoda’s, one is yellow and hexagonal in shape with a green bellshaped roof. The other pavilion is left uncoloured – the white biscuit showing - and has a green roof. The plinth is decorated with green and yellow enamels and is embellished with a simple pierced design. Literally translated, the Chinese words for landscape (shan-shui) mean ‘mountains and water’. Mostly Chinese landscapes show precisely that, flat plains are hardly ever being depicted. The Chinese both admired and feared nature, as forests and wild mountains were the places where either meditating scholars, immortals or robbers dwelled.

Miniature Landscape China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 26.7 cm W: 20 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK 山水小景(清康熙早期) 高:26.7厘米;寬:20厘米 來源:英國私人收藏



10. large sacred mountain An usually large model of a mountain, decorated in enamels on the biscuit in the sancai palette of aubergine brown, yellow and green. The tall craggy peak is inhabited by figures, animals and small buildings, has prunus and pine trees growing up the mountainside. A path with steps curls round the mountain, leading through the open rocks and the pagoda’s. In several buildings there are also small figures present. One small figure on this mountain, is that of a monkey wearing robes. This alludes to the famous Chinese story by Wu Cheng’en called Journey to the West. It tells the tale of Sun Wukong (The Monkey King), who goes to the sacred mountain paradise of the Queen Mother of West. He wrecks her banquet by stealing most of the peaches of immortality. The story incorporates many Daoist elements, which would have appealed to the Chinese scholargentleman. Mountains (shan) hold a special place in Chinese culture. From the late Zhou period (c. 1000 BC), the cult of immortals became increasingly important. Belief in a mythical land called Penglai - an imaginary mountain paradise inhabited by immortals - began from the 4th century BC onwards. It was believed that humans could also discover this paradise and as a result obtain the elixir of immortality. This concept was later incorporated in Daoist ideology, who viewed the natural world in general and mountains in particular, as home of the immortals. They believed in the power of the five Sacred Peaks, each located in one of the five directions - north, south, east, west, and centre - connecting heaven and earth. These are actually existent mountains in China, which have been places of veneration since ancient times. The peaks are: Hua Shan in Shaanxi (West), Tai Shan in Shandong (East),


Large Sacred Mountain China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 53 cm ø: 27 cm Provenance: With Chait Galleries, New York , 2012 Private Collection, Boston, 2010 Purchased from Vanderven Oriental Art, 1999 佛國名山(清康熙早期) 高:53厘米;直径:27厘米 来源: 美國紐約蔡特藝廊(2012年) 美國波士頓私人收藏(2010年) 高富諾展,購於梵得文東方藝廊(1999年)



Heng Shan in Hunan (South), Heng Shan in Shanxi (North) and Song Shan in Henan (centre). What they each have in common is they are all wooded, which is a rarity in China. To communicate with the various deities on these mountains, Emperors ordered the construction of important Daoist temples on each summit. Daoists also believe that magical lingzhi mushrooms that bestow immortality, grow on the slopes of these hills, where qi (universal energy) is most abundant. Similar biscuit mountains can be found in The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Inv. Nr. AK-MAK 592) and the Laura Collection (Italy). A smaller rockwork mountain in Famille Rose enamels is in the Swedish

Royal Collection at Drottingholm Palace. A pair of such mountains are in the collection of Museo degli Argenti (Florence) and depicted in Bondy’s book. Literature Bondy 1923, p.150 Eberhardt 1988, p.157-158 Hay 1985, p.16-32 Jörg & van Campen 1997, p.185 Morena 2005, p.134 & 220-221 Rawson 2007, p.39-40 Scagliola 2005, p.245 Setterwall 1974, p.169 Ströber 2011, p.221 Welch 2008, p.64, 137


11. brush washer This brush washer is in the form of a scene from nature. It depicts a pond, with behind it a mountain, a pine tree and two pagoda’s. In front of the left pagoda grows a lingzhi fungus and on the roof of the other pavilion sits a small bird. A second bird is perched on one of the mountain peaks. The basin, which has the shape of an artemisia leaf, has two small fish and a conch-shell applied to the inside. Sprouting up from the bottom of the pool, is a lotus plant with a leaf and a bud. The whole is decorated in the three (sancai) colours, so typical in enamel on biscuit wares of this kind. The outside of the basin is decorated with splashed tri-colour decoration - known as ‘Egg & Spinach’. As a whole, there are many hidden messages conveyed by this brush washer. One theme is that of longevity, as the artemisia (aicao) leaf was believed to have the ability to prolong life. The Lingzhi fungus - food of the immortals - and the evergreen pine tree (song), are also both often used Chinese symbols for longevity. There are also several symbols referring to Buddhist belief such as the two fish, conch shell and lotus. They are three of the Eight Auspicious Buddhist Symbols, bringing peace and blessings. A comparable example from the former Grandidier Collection is now in the Musée Guimet , Paris (Acc Nr. G2806) and The Taft Museum (Cincinnati) has a pair of large pagoda brush washers. Literature Bartholomew 2006, p. 185, 187, 209 & 283 Boulay 1963, p. 78 Boulay 1995, p. 265 Cohen & Motley 2008, p. 61 Welch 2008, p. 20

Brush Washer China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 16 cm W: 16.5 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK 山水形制筆洗(清康熙早期) 高:16厘米;寬:16.5厘米 來源:英國私人收藏



12. duck & lotus water droppers Water droppers were part of the paraphernalia used by the Chinese literati in their study, and they came in a myriad of forms. Shapes inspired by animals and nature were very popular; they were a way for the scholar to bring the natural world onto his desk. As such, they could serve as an inspiration for poetry or calligraphy. Similar water droppers can be found in the Collection Ernst Grandidier in Musée Guimet (G3162) and the Marie Vergottis collection. They are also found in the Koger and Copeland collections. Another, which was formerly in the H.M. Knight Collection, was included in an exhibition in cologne in 1988. A similar pair, but in turquoise glazes, was in the Anthony de Rothschild Collection.

These two pairs of water droppers are modelled in the shape of an upturned lotus leaf and a Mandarin duck. A lotus stalk curls up around the duck from under the veined leaf. On the inside of each bowl is a small hole, covered by a small leaf. Water could be fed from the bowl into the stalk, from which the water could be gently poured onto an ink stone.. The ducks have modelled feathers and incised eyes and beak; both are enamelled with a splashed ‘egg and spinach’ decoration. The lotus leaves are fully coloured in one shade on the outside and have a contrasting colour within. The duck with a lotus, are a regularly used combination in Chinese symbolism. Mandarin ducks (yuan yang) always live in pairs and stay together for life, they therefore represent a happy and long-lasting marriage. The lotus is the only plant that blooms with the seedpod already in place, making it a symbol for the early arrival of sons. These two motifs together therefore express the wish for a long and happy marriage blessed with many sons.

Literature Ayres 2004, pl. 88 Bartholomew 2006, p. 49 Desroches 1993, p. 10 Krahl 1996, pl. 253 Rinaldi 1993, p. 59 Sargent 1991, p. 36 Vinhais & Welsh 2012, p. 128 Wiesner 1988, p. 173

Duck & Lotus Water Droppers China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 6.2cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK, 2013 With Chait Galleries, New York (label) 鴨形蓮口硯滴一對(清康熙早期) 高:6.2厘米 來源:英國私人收藏(2013年) 美國紐約蔡特藝廊(標籤)



13. seated luohans The figure leaning on his left elbow on a straw coloured bag is probably Budai (布袋羅漢), Luohan of the Calico Bag. He is known as the Buddha of infinite life and carries a bag containing the secrets of heaven and earth. The other figure holds a bowl in one hand and a spiritual pearl in the other, identifying him as the Xianglong (降龍羅漢),Taming Dragon Luohan. He is called this for a legendary act of bravery, subduing a dragon and thus rescuing important sutras. Literature Rawson 2007, p. 159-159 Welch 2008 p. 197 Williams 1976, p. 157-168

These two glazed biscuit figures of Luohans (or Arhat), would probably have originally been part of a larger group. The bald and sinewy figures - sitting crossed legged - have loose fitting brown robes, edged in green. They wear a cord of large yellow beads around their necks and each has a different pose and attributes. Their bodies are left uncoloured, covered with just a thin transparent glaze. The sharply moulded facial features have the eyes and eyebrows are picked out in black. Luohans were the followers of Buddha and having attained the highest state of enlightenment, were freed from the cycle of reincarnation. They were be able to remain on earth to help spread Buddha’s teachings. In temples and monasteries, they are generally depicted in groups of 16 or 18 and are portrayed as elderly monks with shaven heads. Each one represents a different personage and are distinguishable by heir attributes, much like the Christian saints.

Seated Luohans China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 7.5 cm Provenance: Private Collection, France 羅漢坐像一對(清康熙早期) 高:7.5厘米 來源:法國私人收藏



14. hanshan They are both generally depicted unkempt, with grins on their faces. Because they were such classic jovial figures, Emperor Yongzheng even officially declared them to be the saints of harmony and unity in 1733. This figure is an unusual representation of Hanshan, because in the Qing Dynasty he is more commonly shown in a group setting, as of one of happy twin boys. Together these happy twins are thought of as the bringers of good fortune, especially during the Chinese new year. They are also an often used symbol of concord and harmony between married couples.

This cheerful and animated figure, stands upright on a round rockery base. He wears loosely belted brown, green and yellow coloured robes, which falls open, so you can see his bare chest and stomach underneath. His body and face are of thinly glazed white porcelain, the facial features and sparse hair are enhanced with black enamelling. He has long earlobes and a bulge on his forehead, which are both signs of great wisdom and age. The bare arms have an elegant movement to them. In one hand he holds an unfurled scroll, depicting the yin yang emblem in black and green. He has bare feet, one of which rests on a rock. The figure represents Hanshan, one of the two spirits of harmony and union, known collectively as the Heavely Twins or He He Twins (Hehe Erxian). These figures were inspired by two Tang Dynasty (618-906) hermit monks - the poet Hanshan, usually holding a scroll and his companion is Shide, often holding a broom.

Literature Bartholomew 2006, p. 45 Bushell 1896, Fig. 346. Eberhard 1986, p. 142 Sargent 1991, p. 70 Ströber 2012, p. 176 Welch 2008, 154-156

Hanshan China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 16 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK 禪宗詩人寒山像(清康熙早期) 高:16厘米 來源:英國私人收藏



15. box & cover The small rectangular box stands on four oblong feet. Each side is decorated in a loosely applied coloured glaze in green or light aubergine. The lid has a central rectangle in green with a yellow border, in the middle of which lies a small lion in white biscuit with green accents. The sides of the box, as well as the lid, are bordered around the edges with incised lines. The inside of the box comprises two separate compartments; which are left undecorated, but covered in a fine transparent glaze probably to protect the surface. The underside of the lid and the box are left unglazed and are both incised with rough Chinese characters, possibly numbers to identify them as belonging together. Boxes such as these were likely to be intended for use on the scholars desk, possibly as a seal paste box. Seal paste was a mix of red cinnabar, castor oil and organic material, usually spread on a cotton pad and kept in a covered box. A similar example is depicted in the George Eumorfopoulos collection catalogue. Comparable square biscuit boxes, with more elaborate painted decoration are in the Victoria & Albert Museum (C.1078 & A-1910) and depicted in the Leonard Gow Collection. Literature Hobson 1925 – 1928, pl. XXXI, fig. E180. Hobson & Gow 1931, pl. LIV, nr. 260 Rinaldi 1993, p. 82-90 Vinhais & Welsch 2012, p. 133-135

Box & Cover China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) L: 9.8 cm W: 6.6 cm H: 5 cm Provenance: Private Collection, The Netherlands, 1995 帶紐蓋匣(清康熙早期) 長:9.8厘米;寬:6.6厘米;高:5厘米 來源:荷蘭私人收藏(1995年)





16. shizi These biscuit Buddhist lion figurines (Shi), each stand on a rectangular pedestal decorated in Egg & Spinach splashed enamelling. Their bodies are glazed in yellow, with the mane in green and tail in aubergine brown. The female lion looks right, a lion cub jumping up her right leg. The male looks to the left, his paw resting on a pole with a moveable openwork ball. Both have open mouths, teeth bared, with ribbons flowing out either side. The eyeballs protrude and could well have been articulated at some stage. Stylized green curls decorate the top of their heads, brown curls are applied to the back of the head, neck and on their back. Each lion has a facetted vase rising from its back, decorated in a yellow glaze, the opening moulded as an open lotus flower in aubergine brown. These narrow holders were intended to hold joss sticks. Lions are very popular motifs in Chinese art, even though they are not indigenous to the country. Mostly, they bare little resemblance to real lions and are usually stylized fantastical creatures with exaggerated features. Traditionally, they considered to be the protectors of Buddhist wisdom, and can often be seen as guardian statues in front of buildings and temples. Usually they are portrayed seated in pairs - a male and female. They can be easily identified, as the female is always portrayed protecting her cub and the male standing on a ball. Similar pairs of biscuit lions are published in the Maria Vigottis, as well as the Antohony de Rothschild collection catalogues. There is also a pair in the Östasiatiska Museet, Stockholm (Acc nr OM-19920040).

Literature Avitabile 1992, p. 168 nr 343 Ayers 2004, nr 75-78 Eberhard 1986, p. 164 Krahl 1996, nr 222 & 223 Ströber 2012, p.74 Welch, p.135-137

Shizi China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 21cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK 三彩獅一對(清康熙早期) 高:21厘米 來源:英國私人收藏



17. egg & spinach bowls Similar Kangxi bowls from the imperials kilns, with a blue-and-white reign mark, are in the collections of the Palace Museum (Beijing) and the Shanghai Museum. Other examples, without the imperial mark, can be found in the Groninger and Ulrichehamn East Asian Museums. Literature Avitabile 1992, p. 167, nr. 240 Jörg 2011, p. 128 Petzäll & Engel 2002, p. 423 Scagliola 2012, nr. 244 Shanghai 1998, nr. 139 Valenstein 1989, p. 235

These fine bowls, on a high foot ring, flare slightly outward towards the rim. They are distinctively covered on both interior and exterior with a splashed sancai (tri-colour) glaze in yellow, green and auberginebrown. The foot rims and underside are mostly covered in a translucent glaze, the base has a double ring in dark brown. In China, this décor is known as hupiban (tiger-skin) and referred to in the West as Egg & Spinach or Tortoiseshell decoration. The French also refer to it as ‘harlequin’. This colour combination is in use in China since the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), when it was used on lead-glazed pottery. With Kangxi porcelain, this unusual splashed effect was created by applying stained glazes with a large brush directly onto the fired biscuit body coated with slip. It was then covered again with a clear glaze and fired again at a lower temperature of about 900°C. Some areas of the bodycolour show through the clear glaze, forming a fourth white colour.

Egg & Spinach Bowls China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 8.5 cm ø: 19 cm Provenance: Collection Danielle Carasso, France 素三彩虎皮斑碗(清康熙早期) 高:8.5厘米;直徑:19厘米 來源:法國卡拉索收藏



18. li bai Li Bai is also known as the Poet Immortal, which could explain why the wine jar in this example is in the shape of a peach. To the Chinese peaches symbolize immortality and longevity. This is due to their affinity with the famous peaches of immortality, which grow in the gardens of the Queen Mother of the West. She distributes these life prolonging peaches every 3,000 years on her birthday to her heavenly guests, granting them eternal youth and immortality. Li Bai water pots - with differing enamel decoration -can be found in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (C.1105-1910) and in Musée Guimet, Paris (G3164). One example with European mounts is in the Laura Collection, Italy.

This water pot has the shape of a reclining bearded figure, leaning against a container. The corpulent man is dressed in loose robes, decorated with the Egg & Spinach glazes. He rests his head on one arm, the other hangs loosely in front of him, long flowing sleeves cover both his hands. The face is left uncoloured, his hair – tied into two topknots - and beard are coloured with very dark brown enamels. The large green jar is in the shape of a fruit, probably a peach, and has two moulded and incised yellow leaves. The reclining figure is that of the well-known Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai (701-766 AD) , also referred to as Li Tai Po. He was known as one of the greatest imperial poets of the period, but became additionally famous for his great drunkenness. The topic of wine drinking featured regularly in his writing, as well as the beauty of the moon. He went on to become a great inspiration to many Chinese literati and is therefore an often depicted figure on drinking cups, as well as being portrayed leaning drunkenly against a wine jar. It is said he drowned from leaning over the edge of a boat in a drunken effort to embrace the moon.


Literature Berlin 1929, nr. 347 Scagliola 2012, nr. 269 Vinhais & Welsch 2012 Welch 2008, p. 55 & 165-166 Williams 1976, p. 281

Li Bai China, mid Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 11 cm W: 17 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK 詩仙李白像(清康熙中期) 高:11厘米;寬:17厘米 來源:英國私人收藏


19. crab brush washers Chinese scholar-gentleman, known as wenren, aspired to an ideal existence - a leisurely life dedicated to the Four Arts: painting, calligraphy, chess and playing the qin or lute. This idealistic view of a reclusive life devoted to the arts, nature and contemplation, was inspired by Daoist principles. Some wenren were wealthy landowners of noble birth, but most of them held positions as civil servants. The reality was that, even though their work provided a good income, there was generally little time left for the artistic pursuits which they so idealized. The crab (xie) is a symbol for harmony, as well as a symbol for success in passing civil examinations. These are therefore a fitting object for the scholar’s desk. These charming objects in the shape of crabs, were originally intended for the scholars desk. They would have been used as water containers for wetting calligraphy brushes. Finely modelled, they are decorated all-over with the splashed Egg & Spinach enamels. The traditional Confucian framework of society, dictated many aspects of the way people lived and worked for in China for hundreds of years. There was a strict ethical code which applied to many areas of civil life. One important aspect concerned looking after ones family – parents in particular. It also prescribed a strict form of conduct to all aspects of working life. Scholar-gentlemen were expected to pass a series of provincial and imperial examinations, so they could take up their place as a civil servant in the vast and bureaucratic governmental system. An officials’ duties included collecting taxes, administrating a particular region, settling disputes and meeting out punishments.

Literature Bartholomew 2006, p. 42 Krahl 1996, p. 406 nr. 229 Rinaldi 1993, p. 17-21 Scagliola 2012, nr. 272

Crab Brush Washers China, mid Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 4.5 cm W: 7 cm Provenance: Private Collection, France 蟹形筆洗一對(清康熙中期) 高:4.5厘米;寬:7厘米 來源:法國私人收藏



20. wall vases These moulded and glazed baluster shape wall vases, are decorated all over with so-called Egg & Spinach decoration. They have a rounded shape on the forward-facing side, but the back is flat so it can be hung on the wall - using the small hole on the reverse. The neck is slightly flared towards the top and has a lions mask in relief. An impressed oval panel on the rounded body, is decorated in relief with a flowering chrysanthemum plant. This distinctive decoration is created using a splashed sancai (three colour) glazes - yellow, green and aubergine-brown - often referred to in the West as ‘ Egg & Spinach’. This name probably came about because of the typical and recognizable colour combination. In China this décor is known as the hupiban (tiger-skin) pattern. Flower appreciation and arrangement, were typical pastimes amongst the educated classes in China. Small sophisticated arrangements would have been common in the scholars studio, as miniature representations of nature. Wall vases such as these, were considered practical as they could be hung on the wall, therefore taking up less space on the scholar’s desk. Several similar vases are in the Burrell Collection (Glasgow) (38.1003-38.1007). Literature Boulay 1984, p. 232 Rinaldi 1993 , p. 114 Vinhais & Welsh, p. 110

Wall Vases China, mid Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 14.5 cm Provenance: Vrijman Collection, UK 壁瓶一對(清康熙中期) 高:14.5厘米 來源:英國福萊曼收藏



21. longevity & offspring This pair of small ornamental rockeries, stand on high square plinths. The craggy outcrops mirror each other in shape and are covered in light ‘Egg & Spinach’ glazes. The finely modelled plants and animals are coloured in the same colour palette. Each of the rocks has a different decorative theme - one has a scene with a pine tree and a stork, the other has two squirrels and a grapevine. The reverse is left mostly unglazed and partially without the usual white slip. They have been hollowed out on the reverse, allowing the potter to shape the piece outwards. The combination of squirrels and grapes, is an often seen decorative combination in Chinese art. Squirrels have great reproductive powers, just like vines where grapes grow in large clusters. The squirrel (in Chinese songshu: rat in the pine tree) can also be a visual substitute for the first of the Chinese zodiac signs: the Rat. It is named zi - number one - which is also associated with the word zi for sons. Squirrels with grapes can therefore be read as the well-wishing expression ‘abundant fortunes and offspring’ (duozi duofu) – a typical example of Chinese word-play. Pine trees and the cranes are both symbols of longevity in the Chinese visual vocabulary. Put together they mean ‘may you enjoy a long life as that of the pine and the crane’ (songhe changchun). This combination was common for on a birthday gift for a single person or a husband and wife, as the pine and crane here also form a couple. It is quite possible that the combination of these two symbolic themes could indicate this pair of rocks were intended as a wedding gift, wishing the couple a long life together and many sons.

Literature Bartholomew 2006 , p. 79 180 Berlin 1923, p. 354 Krahl 1996, p. 402, nr. 226 Sargent 1991, p. 73 Welch 2008, p. 69 & 144

Longevity & Offspring China, mid Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 16.5 cm Provenance: Private Collection, France 壽比南山、多子多福(清康熙中期) 高:16.5厘米 來源:法國私人收藏





22. buddhist lions A pair of famille verte enamel on biscuit Buddhist lions, on high intricately decorated rectangular pedestals. The female has a pup at her right leg, the male has a brocade ball on a stick under his left paw. Their mouths are open, teeth bared and tongue showing; the back of their heads and eyebrows are decorated with tight green curls. The white biscuit eyes are moveable and have black pupils. The predominant colour of the body is a bright turquoise green, except for their mane and tail which is aubergine with thin black lines simulating fur. On its back is a broad yellow stripe and a row of six green curls. The pedestals have two overlapping lozenges applied to the front, known in Chinese as fangshengwen pattern, which is considered auspicious. Under the pedestal is a low stand, decorated in a black on an aubergine ground in imitation of wood grain. This type of Buddhist lions, are typical to China and are sometimes also referred to as Fo Dogs. They do not resemble real lions, having become stylized over the centuries. From the Ming Dynasty onwards, the Buddhist lion was represented with bulging eyes, puglike face and a short bushy tail. Allegedly Pekinese pugs were bred to look like them. Legend has it that Buddha entered a temple and instructed his two accompanying lions to wait outside, which they did dutifully. This is said to be the reason that lions are found at the gates of Buddhist temples and entrances of sacred halls, as such regarded as symbols of guardianship and wisdom. These types of figures were also popular for the export market, considered highly exotic artefacts. They would have been displayed prominently in elegant 18th century interiors. Similar examples can be found in the collections of The Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), Museé Guimet (Paris) and Lady Lever Collection, , Liverpool (Acc No. LL6662).

Literature Berlin 1923, p. 357 nr 975 Cohen & Motley 2008 p.201-202 Jörg & van Campen 1997, nr 216 Jörg 2011, p. 124 nr 113 Vinhais & Welsh 2011, p.166 Welch 2008, p.213

Buddhist Lions China, late Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 24.8 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK, 2011 Rockefeller Collection, USA 青獅一對(清康熙晚期) 高:24.8厘米 來源: 英國私人收藏 美國洛克菲勒家族收藏



23. jardinière This rectangular jardinière with aubergine, green and yellow enamels enamels on a white ground, stands on four low corner feet. It has a broad flat rim, decorated op top with meandering flowers and branches. The side of the rim, has a swirling pattern in dark brown on a light green background. The sides, which taper slightly, are decorated with various scenes. The front panel is decorated with a prunus blossom branch, which sprouts from a grassy knole, with two flying birds. The opposite side has peony branches, with yellow and aubergine blooms, surrounded by hovering butterflies and a cricket. The smaller panels both show a selection of the ‘hundred treasures’. All the panels have a narrow yellow border with a thin brown line either side. The inside and underside of the flowerpot are unglazed, with a small draining hole pierced into the base. Plum blossom, is known as the first among flowers and is very much admired by the Chinese. From the Song Dynasty onwards it becomes a much used literary motif, with a great symbolic value. On this Jardinière, the blossom is shown fully opened and as such identified with the beginning of spring, as it is the first tree to blossom after winter. The birds are also emblematic of spring. The opposite panel shows peonies, butterflies and crickets which all symbols of summer. The smaller panels show collections of objects known collectively as the Hundred Antiquities or Hundred Treasures, a hundred really meaning many treasures. It is a group of emblematic forms that include antiquities, scholar’s objects, representations of sacrificial vessels and threedimensional decorative arts of all types. This motif becomes popular from the seventeenth century onwards and is full of auspicious symbolism. Small flowerpots such as this one, would have been used for growing plants indoors. Lower flatter pots, without drainage holes, were used for the cultivation


of narcissus flowers. Larger jardinières, were for on a balcony or veranda. Flower appreciation, gardening and flower arranging were pleasurable pastimes for the Chinese literati and several treatise were published on the subject during the Ming Dynasty. Literature Bartholomew 2006, p.150, 156, p.215 De Boulay 1984, p.225 Bushell 1896 (ed.1980), p.254 Goidsenhoven 1936, pl.16, nr. 31 Krahl 1996, nr 191 Rinaldi 1993, p.111 Welch 2008, p.39 & 91

Jardinière China, mid Kangxi period (1662-1722) L: 16.5 cm W: 10.5 cm H: 7.5 cm Provenance: St. Louis Art Museum, USA, 2009 唐 陶加彩马骑俑 方形花盆(清康熙中期) 長:16.5厘米;寬:10.5厘米;高:7.5厘米 來源:美國聖路易藝術博物館(2009年)


24. lingzhi table such as a water dropper, brush rests or seal paste box. Another suggestion is that they would have been used as an armrest. The scholar could support his wrist or arm during calligraphy or painting for a short repose, whilst still holding a brush. This type of object is found more often in other materials, such as lacquer, wood or ivory; porcelain examples are much rarer.

This miniature table, in the shape of a stylized Lingzhi fungus, is supported by three scrolling cabriole legs. The top, decorated in soft shades of famille verte enamels on the biscuit, has a scene of rocks, flowering peony shrubs and prunus branches on a grassy hillock. The legs are decorated with a wood grain pattern in black on an aubergine ground. The back of the legs and underside are left undecorated and partially unglazed. The Lingzhi (Glossy Ganoderma), is actually a woody fungus which grows on the trunks or roots of trees in southern China. It has dark colour and is very glossy, as if lacquered. Due to its hard texture it does not decay like other fungi, thus surviving for a long time. In China it was particularly appreciated for its great medicinal qualities, even believed to revive the dead, making it worth four times its weight in silver. Also considered the preferred food of the immortals, only deer were reputed to be able to find Lingzhi. Because of these powerful associations, it became known as the fungus of immortality. The Lingzhi became very popular motif found in every medium of Chinese art and a much used symbol of longevity.

A similar table can be found in the Musée Guimet, Paris (acc. nr. G5144) and one with the same shape, but a different decor, is published in the RA Collection catalogue. An oblong example with comparable decoration and colours is in the collection of The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. no. AK-RBK 15896). Literature Bartholomew 2006, p.187 Goidsenhoven 1936, pl.12, nr.24 & p.150 Jörg & van Campen 1997, p.187, nr 209 Pinto de Matos 2011, nr.150 Rinaldi 1993, p.76-77 Sargent 1991, p. 44-45

Lingzhi Table China, mid Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 11.5 cm W: 22 cm Provenance: Meulenaer – de Wit Collection, Belgium, 2010 With Vanderven & Vanderven Antiquairs, The Netherlands, 1980 如意形案(清康熙中期) 高:11.5厘米;寬:22厘米

The purpose of such small tables is uncertain. It is suggested they were used on a scholar’s or merchants desk to display small objects or to place useful items,


來源: 比利時德威特收藏(2010年) 荷蘭梵得文古董行(1980年)


25. archaic vase This vase is modelled after an archaic bronze form, known as a Gu. It has a square shape, narrow in the middle and flaring out towards the bottom and the top. It is decorated in bright green enamels with accents in yellow and aubergine. The lower and top sections are decorated with long green plantain leaves, edged in yellow, on a repeating diagonal diaper pattern. The central section is square and shows four of the Eight Trigrams (bagua) on each side. The foot is in the form of a low stand simulating wood. In view of the shape and decoration, this vase could well have been part of a five piece Buddhist altar set which would have comprised two vases, two candlesticks and a censer. In the 18th century, reproducing archaic bronze forms was in vogue; a way of honouring the past and ancestors. This rise in popularity was probably due to the Qing emperors’ keen interest in antiquity and all the objects associated with it. Ancient forms can be found reproduced in varying media such as bronze, cloisonné, porcelain and jade. The Eight Trigrams are one of the oldest motifs in Chinese art. They can be found on very early artefacts and hold deep meaning in Chinese philosophy. The pattern consists of eight combinations of three lines, either broken or unbroken. The solid lines represent yang and the broken ones yin. Each trigram is associated with a season, family member, animal, direction of the compass, personality, etc. They represent the harmony of all of nature and life itself, so they play an important role in Daoist cosmology.

collection in the late 19th century. He eventually sold to the international dealer Edgar Gorer, who exhibited it to much acclaim in his London gallery. Part of the collection then went on to be sold to Lord & Lady Leverhulm, another industrialist collector from this era. Similar shaped vases, but with differing decoration, can be found in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (acc. no.62.222.1 & 62.222.2) and in the Lady Lever Collection, Liverpool (acc. no. LL6693). Literature Davids & Jellinek 2011, p.68 Boulay 1984, p.248 Gorer & Blacker 1911, pl.43 Gorer 1911, nr. 260 Welch 2008, p.239-240

Archaic Vase China, mid Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 25.2 cm Provenance: St. Louis Art Museum, USA, 2009 Published: Gorer & Blacker, 1911 Richard Bennett Collection Catalogue, 1911 觚形瓶(清康熙中期)

The provenance of this vase is particularly interesting, as it can be traced to 1911. Then it was published in the Richard Bennet Collection catalogue, as well as in Gorer & Blacker’s Chinese Porcelain & Hardstones. Richard Bennet was a great British industrialist who formed his much admired


高:25.2厘米 來源: 美國聖路易藝術博物館(2009年) 收錄於以下圖冊: 《戈若與博萊格爾收藏》,編號43,1911年 《貝內特收藏》,編號260,英國北安普頓,1911年




26. han xiangzi This enamel on biscuit seated figure depicts Han Xiangzi, one of the Eight Daoist Immortals. He is dressed in a light green robe decorated with yellow and aubergine flowers and holds a flute in his right hand. The smiling face looks slightly to the right, his black hair in two small top knots. The high hexagonal base is decorated on the front with green and yellow trellis bands, with a central panel with the character shou for longevity. The reverse of the hollow base is left unglazed and the panels only depict casual black scribbles. This indicates that this figure was only intended to be viewed from the front. The Eight Immortals (baxian) are a popular group of Daoists deities, comprising seven male and one female personage. The stories and iconography connected to each of these figures, illustrate the transformation from the early philosophical Daoism to a more popular culture, involving magic and alchemy to achieve immortality. Each of the eight characters is based on a historical figure, Han Xiang reputedly being the grandnephew of a ninth century scholar. Known as a great poet and musician, he become the patron of musicians. He can be distinguished from the other immortals by his special attribute, a magical jade flute. A man of nature – lover of solitude and mountains - he is believed to have the ability to make flowers and fruit grow out of season, which is emphasized by the flower decoration on the robes of this figurine. This type of figures would have been popular for the domestic as well as the export market. In the west these figures would have been popular luxurious adornments representing foreign and exotic lands. Similar figures are in the Collection of The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. Nr. AK-VBR 555). The Taft Museum, Cincinnati (acc.nr.1931.35,42,40, & 37, Drottingholm Castle, Sweden (acc. nr. HGK 860) and

Musée Guimet, Paris (acc. Nr. G5332) have similar, slightly larger standing figures of Han Xiangzi. Literature Bondy, p171 Boulay 1995, p.618 Castelluccio 2013, p.111 Jörg & van Campen 1997, p. 191 nr.215 Jörg 2011, Kwok & O’Brien 1990, p.28 Setterwall 1974, p.167 & p. 290 nr. FE60 Ströber 2012, p. 147 Welch 1998, p.176 7 179

Han Xiangzi China, mid Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 15.3 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK 韓湘子像(清康熙中期) 高:15.3厘米 來源:英國私人收藏



27. guandi god of war

This magnificent male figure on horseback, represents the Daoist God of War, Guandi. He is dressed in a full elaborate military armour, embellished with a pattern of green scales, worn over robes. The tunic is belted at the waist with a white belt, the buckle is in the form of a tiger’s head. An aubergine cape covers his shoulders and on his head he wears a green cloth cap knotted at the front. His smiling face, which is painted gold, is surrounded by long flowing hair and beard. He sits proudly upright, body turned to the left, his right hand placed at the waist, the other arm rests in front of his body. Both hands still have remnants of gold paint. His tall boots are black, the heels firmly backed into stirrups. The horse is enamelled in aubergine, the saddle cloth is in a contrasting green. Its head is tilted up towards the left and one front leg lifted, as if walking forwards, the swishing black tail, hollow and unglazed on the reverse, is removable. The reins and trappings are white, the bells around its chest also appear to have been gilded.

Guandi, known in Chinese folklore as one of the Five Tiger Generals, became a general during the early Han Dynasty. He was the youngest of three sworn brother warriors, who raised an army to supress rebellion. Their deeds are graphically recorded in the Annals of the Three Kingdoms (220-65AD) and so gained much renown. Guandi was taken prisoner and executed in 220 BC, but after his death it was thought he still used his great powers for the good of the nation, protection of the country and as guardian of the Daoist faith. He was posthumously elevated to the rank of Duke, then Prince in the 12th century. In 1594, during the Ming Dynasty, he was eventually awarded the title of Emperor or God. Now named God of War, Guandi evolved into a potent symbol of justice, honesty and integrity and became one of China’s most popular divinities. He is also regarded as the deity of all money making activities, because as peace bringer he ensures economic prosperity.

Guandi God of War China, mid Kangxi period (1662-1722) H: 34,5 cm L: 29 cm Provenance: Private Collection, UK, 2014 G.L. Bevan Collection, UK , 1911 Published: Gorer & Blacker, 1911 赤兔馬上關公像(清康熙中期) 高:34.5厘米;長:29厘米 來源: 英國私人收藏(2014年) 英國博凡收藏(1911年) 收錄於圖冊: 《戈若與博萊格爾收藏》,編號92,1911年




figures such as these, rarely appear on the market and very few are known.

During the Qing Dynasty most towns had a specific temple honouring him, many of them still exist today and remain popular pilgrimage destinations. This particular figure of Guandi is depicted in the Gorer & Blacker Chinese Porcelain and Hard Stones; Volume II. In the accompanying text it states that it belongs to the collection of G.L. Bevan. Gerard Lee Bevan, who was as an insurer and stockbroker in London, appears to have been a bit of a rogue as he was convicted for fraud and sentenced to prison in 1922. When released, he fled to Havanna with his mistress, where he ran a distillery. During his career he had built up a significant art collection, which included important Chinese porcelain. In total ten pieces from his porcelain collection are depicted in Gorer & Blacker’s book. Bevan’s collection was auctioned off due to bankruptcy in 1923.

Figures such as these, rarely appear on the market and very few are known. A comparable example, with a different coloured horse, is depicted in the Richard Bennet Collection Catalogue, as well as in Gorer & Blacker’s aforementioned book. Another representation of Guandi, but in the tri-colour Egg & Spinach pallet, was in the Anthony de Rothschild collection. Literature Bondy 1923, p. 188 Davis & Jellineck 2012, p. 72 Gorer 1911, nr. 224 Gorer & Blacker 1911, pl. 86 & 92 Krahl 1996, p. 204 Welch 2008, p. 161 Williams 1976, p. 211


28. scroll weight

This impressive oblong scroll weight, is richly decorated all over with flowers and butterflies, in a bright famille verte colour pallet. The long sidepanels each have three roundels, the central one depicting a white crane. The other two roundels are densely decorated with finely drawn peony flowers of different sizes in aubergine and yellow glazes amongst green leaves. The space in between the round panels, is abundantly decorated with blossoms and fluttering butterflies with an array of patterns on their wings. The short sides of the scroll weight, have circular pierced panels in yellow on a green background, also decorated with small blossoms, leaves and butterflies. All the flowers and butterflies are finely detailed in black enamel. The top, with larger scrolling blossoms and leaves, is applied with a handle in the shape of a qilong dragon. It has a scaly yellow body, its head and flowing tail are light aubergine. It has an elongated head with a comical friendly expression, pointy ears and a single horn on top of its head. The long hairy mane and beard are green. The underside is unglazed, and has a label with the text ‘Wallenbergs dep.’


Scroll Weight China, late Kangxi period (1662-1722) L: 29 cm. W: 27.6 cm H: 8 cm Provenance: Museum of Far Eastern Art, Stockholm, 2014 Gustaf Wallenberg Collection, Sweden Published: Bulletin Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities nr. 46, 1974 帶紐鎮紙(清康熙晚期) 長:29厘米;寬:27.6厘米;高:8厘米 來源: 瑞典斯德哥爾摩遠東藝術博物館(2014年) 瑞典瓦倫伯格收藏(1906-1918) 收錄於圖冊: 《遠東藝術博物館通訊》第46期,1974年



scroll weights such as this one, would have been used in the chinese scholars studio to weigh down a paper scroll to prevent it from rolling up again.

Scroll weights such as this one, would have been used in the scholars studio to weigh down a paper scroll, to prevent it from rolling up again. To be effective, a weight had to be sufficiently heavy for the purpose. Therefore, stone or metal weights are more common than porcelain or ceramic examples. The crane (he) is considered the first among birds, and to the Chinese, symbolizes both status and longevity. It was the emblem used on the robes of top ranking civil servants, to denote their important status. Surrounded by peonies, as they are here, it can be interpreted as yipin fungui : may you be wealthy and prestigious in the top official rank. Butterflies (Hudié or just dié), are often depicted with peonies, together they represent wealth and riches. Many butterflies together also conveys a wish of ‘100 blessings’. This particular object previously belonged to the collection of Gustaf Oscar Wallenberg (1863-1937), who came from a prominent Swedish family of bankers, diplomats and shippers. He was Swedish Ambassador in Tokyo 1906-1918, as well as to Beijing from 1907 onwards. During this period he formed a fine collection of Chinese and Japanese Art. On his death his grandson Raoul Wallenberg, a World War II hero, inherited the collection. Raoul never returned from his imprisonment in Russia, so part of the Asian art collection was deposited in the Museum of Far Eastern Art (Stockholm). This collection was inventoried and valued in 1973, and eventually divided amongst his heirs.

Similar weights, but with the handle in the shape of a gnarled branch, are depicted in the Trapnell Collection and in the Eumorfopoulos Collection catalogues. Similar oblong objects, but without a handle and narrower in the middle, are referred to as being pillows or headrests. Examples of these can be found in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (acc. No. C.1103-1910) ), Musée Guimet, Paris (nr.G456 ) and The Taft Museum, Cincinnati. Literature Boulay 1995, p. 662-663 Cox 1973, p. 577 Hobson 1925-28, pl. XI, nr. E68 Kerr 1990, p. 95 Rinaldi 1993, p. 104 Sartel 1881, pl 6 nr. 43 Trapnell 1901, pl. LII, nr. 228 Welch 2008, p. 69 & 91 Wirgin 1974, p. 83 pl. 41a




29. brush washer & brush pot shaven headed, pot-bellied and laughing. This jolly character is probably the most well known of a group of 16 Buddhist monks known as Luohan.

These two objects, both intended for the scholar’s desk, have a turquoise glaze. The brush washer is in the shape of a laughing man, his body flattened forming the basin for the water. The cylindrical brush pot is decorated in relief with a prunus and pine tree, intertwined with bamboo. The rim is flattened on top and embellished round the outside with small incised diagonal lines. Brush pots, were intended for storing brushes used daily for calligraphy or painting. This example is decorated with prunus (mei), pine (song) and bamboo (zhu) – a combination known as the ‘Three Friends of Winter’. Pine and bamboo are both evergreens and the prunus tree is the first tree to blossom at the end of the winter. As such, they are all symbols of fortitude and uprightness in adverse conditions. This great resilience is much admired by the Chinese. All three plants are also symbols of longevity. Brush washers, were also essential items on a scholars desk. They usually have a wide base and a rim which curls inwards, so that the water would not spill out when dipping the brush. Even though it was a utilitarian item, brush washers were often given unusual shapes. Here it is in the shape of a laughing Buddha, known as Budai. He is generally depicted,


Turquoise glazes were first introduced in the 15th century, but were infrequently used due to its instability in the kilns. Later, techniques improved and they were able to produce bright jewel-like turquoises. The porcelain is fired a first time at high temperature, then a glaze (based on copper and potash) was applied and the piece re-fired at a lower temperature. As the glaze was very runny, it would run into deeper lying areas of relief decoration, giving these areas a darker colour. Turquoise glazes often have very fine crackling. Literature Ayers 2004, p. 165, 169, 170 Bartholomew 2006, p. 210 Bondy 1923, pl. 82 Jörg & van Campen 1997, p. 232 Kerr 1990, p .88 Krahl 1996, p. 262 Rinaldi 1993, p. 59-69 & 90-99 Welch 2008, p. 191

Brush Washer & Brush Pot China, late Kangxi period (1662-1722 H: 5 cm W: 5.5 cm / H: 9.5 cm ø: 6 cm Provenance: Langhout – Han Collection, Amsterdam, 2000 With Vanderven & Vanderven Antiquairs, 1980’s 人形筆洗與鏤空筆筒(清康熙晚期) 高:5厘米;寬:5.5厘米 高:9.5厘米;直徑:6厘米 來源:荷蘭阿姆斯特丹蘭胡特與韓氏收藏(2000年) 荷蘭梵得文古董行(1980年代)


30. eight immortals boat The underside of the boat, which is glazed turquoise, has an oblong carved reserve incised the characters for the name Chen Guozhi Zhi. Chen Guozhi (c.18001860) was a renowned artist active in the Daoguang period. He is recorded as being a very gifted porcelain painter, and carver. He is especially known for his porcelain brush pots with scenes in high relief, examples of which can be found in major collections such as that in the Shanghai Museum and Bauer Collection (Geneva). A very similar boat, but depicting the story of the goddess Shi-ji Niang-Niang, is in the Weishaupt Collection (Berlin).

A small and detailed enamel on biscuit boat floating on waves. The square open cabin has a door at the rear, a balustrade opening at the front and round windows either side. It is carved all over with a repeating square pattern and a roundel on top. Above the front entrance is a fan-shaped reserve with the characters qing he meaning ‘Clear River’. On deck and in the cabin are detailed miniature figures of the Eight Daoist Immortals: two inside the cabin, three on the fore and three on the aft of the boat. There are many tales and legends surrounding this group of immortals, which comprises seven males and one female personage, each with their own special powers and abilities. They are a recurring theme in Chinese art, as they embody the Daoist ideal of immortality. The scene depicted here is that of ‘Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea’ (baixian guohai). The Immortals are on their way to the birthday banquet of the Queen Mother of the West, where they can feast on the immortality peaches, which grow in her garden. Each individual immortal can be identified by the attributes they carry.


Literature Miller & Hui 2006, p. 20-22 & 341 Weishaupt 2002, p. 357 Laura, p. 275 Welch 2008, p. 176-181

Eight Immortals Boat China, Daoguang period (1820-1850) Signed: Chen Guozhi Zhi H: 11 cm W: 14 cm Provenance: Private Collection, The Netherlands 八仙過海(清道光) 印:陳國志制 高:11厘米;寬:14厘米 來源:荷蘭私人收藏


31. mountain brush rest This brushrest, has a crescent shape, with five high pointy peaks curving forwards. It is enameled on the biscuit, on both the front and back, with three large butterflies amongst blossoms on a speckled green ground. The butterflies and flowers are rendered in yellow and aubergine, the leaves surrounding the blooms are dark green. Butterflies amongst flowers is a well known decorative motif in China, symbolizing joy, love and good fortune. The form of the rest is intended to conjure up images of the Five Sacred Mountains of Daoism (Wu Yue), each peak representing a well known existing mountain in China. These celebrated natural landmarks, are still sacred and popular pilgrimage destinations. The largest and most famous is the central Song Shan Mountain, in Henan Province, with its imposing Shaolin Temple. Visiting or ascending these peaks was thought to bring you closer to nature, immortality and even to the immortals themselves, who were thought to dwell in these mountains. Miniature representations of mountains, catered to the Daoists fascination with nature. Natural forms were scaled down and stylized, to create beautiful and useful objects for in the scholars studio. Mountainshaped brush rests were the particularly popular, as the shape lends itself perfectly for supporting and separating the calligraphy brushes amongst its valleys and crevices. They occur in a variety of materials such as stone, bamboo and jade, as well as in porcelain. A similar brushrest is in the Burrell Collection (Glasgow) and two are depicted in the book by Goidsenhoven. One from the same period, with monochrome turquoise glaze, can be found in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, New York (acc. nr.08.184.1)


Literature Batholomew 2006, p. 41 Rawson 2007, p. 208 Rinaldi 1993, p. 35, 99-103 Ströber 2011, p. 52 & 137 Goidsenhoven 1936, pl. 12 nr. 21 & 22

Mountain Brush Rest China, mid 19th century H: 12 cm W: 14.5 cm Provenance: Private Collection , UK 2011 The Hon. Mrs. N. Ionides Collection, UK, 2003. 筆山(清道光咸豐) 高:12厘米;寬:14.5厘米 來源: 英國私人收藏(2011) 美國紐約拉菲·莫塔赫德夫婦(2000年)


32. famille noire table This small rectangular table, stands on low legs curving inwards at the foot. The top is decorated with a panel in famille verte enamels on a black ground, depicting rocks, peony blossoms and a bird sitting amongst prunus branches. The scene is framed by lozenge diaper pattern, bordered in green and aubergine. The base and legs are decorated with a ‘cracked ice’ pattern in green with white prunus blossom and darker green leaves. The underside is left uncoloured with a light transparent glaze. Such small tables would have been used on the Chinese scholar’s desk, to place small utensils. The term famille noire was introduced by Jacquemart and Le Blant in 1862, who published an article on Chinese porcelain in which the terms famille verte, jaune and noire first appeared. Famille verte porcelains can be recognized by the predominantly green enamels, that are generally set against a solid-colour ground of black, yellow or green – and more rarely aubergine or white. The objects with a predominantly yellow and black ground were placed in the sub-categories named famille noire and famille jaune. Famille noire porcelain, has been the source of much academic debate and research in the last decades. Pieces that were formerly firmly attributed to the Kangxi reign (1662-1722), are now defined as being from a later period. Dating in some (not all) cases can still be a challenge, because the quality of the 19th century pieces is very high, or the earlier objects being of a lesser standard. We now date by studying the shape, material and style of decoration. This small table was previously in the St. Louis Art Museum (USA), and has an inventory number in red lacquer on the underside (1081:40), as well as the number 181 in black. Similar tables were produced throughout the Qing Dynasty, and appear


decorated in various colours with differing shapes (also see nr. 24 in this catalogue). A slightly larger rectangular table, dated to the Kangxi period, is in The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. Nr. AK-RBK 15896), another was depicted in the Eumorfopoulos Collection catalogue. Literature Hobson 1925-1928, pl. XXXI, E152 Jörg & van Campen 200, nr. 209 Kerr 1990, p. 97-98 Pinto de Matos 2011, nr. 150 Rinaldi 1993, p. 76-77 Vinhais & Welsh 2012, p. 51-57

Famille Noire Table China, mid 19th century L: 15 cm W: 10.5 cm H: 5.5 cm Provenance: St. Louis Art Museum, USA, 2009 黑地素三彩案幾(清道光咸豐) 長:15厘米;寬:10.5厘米;高:5.5厘米 來源:美國聖路易藝術博物館,編號1081:40(2009年)


33. dragon handle vase This tall vase, which has a square section and a pear shaped body, stands on a high flaring foot. Each of the four sides is painted with prunus branches, flowers and pierced rocks, in green, yellow and aubergine enamels on a solid black ground. The two larger panels have an exotic bird perched on one of the branches. The edges of each panel are left unglazed, forming a white border. Each side of the high sloping foot, is decorated with a single flower and green meandering branches. The inside of the foot has a glossy transparent glaze over an apocryphal six-character Kangxi mark in cobalt blue. The freely modelled dragon handles, are painted aubergine with green and yellow details. Famille noire wares became very fashionable amongst the great porcelain collectors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The hype started in England in the 1880’s, due to the interest from significant collectors such as George Salting, Alfred Trapnell and William Hesketh Lever, who amassed impressive collections. Later the Americans dominated this market, headed by the new mega rich industrialists, such as James Garland, Henry Clay Frick, John Pierpont Morgan and James D. Rockerfeller. The larger pieces of famille noire porcelain were particularly sought after. Due to the complicated production process of the black enamel colour, it is uncommon to find large black ground pieces from the earlier Kangxi era. The fashion for famille noire in the west, as well as improved techniques, undoubtedly sparked production in the 19th century, so increased demand could be met. In the same period, the Dowager Empress Cixi, who effectively ruled China for much of the 19th century, was also said to have a penchant for black. This could also have caused a raise in production famille noire, at this time.

collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (Salting Bequest acc. nr. c.1309-1910), Frick Collection, New York (acc. nr. 1915.8.34) and Musée Guimet, Paris (acc. nr.G1711). The same shape vase, but with famille jaune enamels, is depicted in the catalogue of the Anthony de Rothschild Collection. Literature Bower 1998, p. 163 Gorer & Blacker 1911, pl. 13 Krahl 1996, nr. 190 Vinhais & Welsh 2012, p. 51-57

Dragon Handle Vase China, mid 19th century H: 41cm Provenance: Private Collection, The Netherlands, 2010 Private Collection, Germany, 2006 龍耳黑地素三彩瓶(清道光咸豐) 高:41厘米 來源:荷蘭私人收藏(2010年)

Similar vases, but with different handles, are in the





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