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A fine and rare pair of doucai 'chicken cups' marks and period of yongzheng
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About the item

Modelled after the Chenghua prototype, each finely potted with gently flared sides, painted around the exterior in bright translucent enamels fluently outlined in clear underglaze blue with a cockerel and an aubergine-coloured hen on one side observing each other, surrounded by their four yellow chicks, the reverse with another cockerel accompanied by a yellow hen with her brood of five chicks, one riding on her back and two struggling over a worm, the cockerel parading with his red crowned head lowered and his black tail feathers displayed, all amongst iron-red roses, yellow lilies and green bamboos growing by pierced craggy rocks in cobalt blue washes, the slightly recessed base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark in regular script arranged in two columns enclosed within double squares\nIt is rare to find a Yongzheng chicken cup following the shape of the Chenghua original but painted with this free interpretation of the fifteenth century design instead of a precise copy, although one from the Sedgwick Collection, included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition The Arts of the Ch'ing Dynasty, London, 1964, cat. no. 194, was sold in these rooms 14th November 1989, lot 230, and another 15th May 1990, lot 284. It is interesting to compare this cup with the Chenghua cup from the Edward T. Chow collection sold in these rooms 25th November 1980, lot 31. A second example of a Chenghua 'chicken cup' is being offered this season from the Meiyintang collection,  lot 1, formerly in the Mrs. Leopold Dreyfus collection. Although both have a cock, hen and chicks on each side divided by rocks and plants, the Yongzheng cocks are in different positions, with elaborate ruffled tail feathers instead of the three long feathers characteristic of the Chenghua birds, the clump of yellow orchids on one side of the original cup has been changed into bamboo, with a single small lily to one side, and the proportions of the roses and blue rocks on the other side has altered considerably.\nThe Chenghua cup from the Chow Collection is also illustrated by Cécile et Michel Beurdeley, La céramique chinoise, Fribourg, 1974, col. pls. 71 and 72, together with cups from the same Collection with Kangxi and Yongzheng reign marks, also sold in these rooms, but these Qing cups follow the original very closely in the style of the painting and the position of the birds, with three long tail feathers, as well as in the outline of the cup and the arrangement of the reign marks in a double square.
HK
HK
HK

condition

The overall condition of the pair is excellent, with only a few stained pinprick air bubbles and some minor surface scratches. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

dimensions

8 cm., 3 1/8  in.

exhibition

Selected Treasures of Chinese Art, Min Chiu Society Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1990-1, cat. no. 165.

provenance

Sotheby's Hong Kong, 27th April 1993, lot 182.

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Distinguished Asian Collection


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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