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Lesedi la ronathe largest gem quality rough diamond to be discovered

The rough diamond of high colour and purity weighing 1,109 carats and measuring approximately 66.4 x 55 x 42mm. It is a huge privilege for Sotheby’s to have been chosen by Lucara Diamond Corp. to offer Lesedi La Rona for sale. Indeed, it is a unique honour as no other rough diamond of even remotely similar size has ever been proposed for public auction. What has struck me personally, since I first held this phenomenal gemstone in my hands, is how well it embodies the symbolism that Man has invested in diamond since remote antiquity – ideas of permanence, indestructability, immutability, and of course, adamantine hardness. Just try to imagine the epic journey this stone has undergone to arrive with us. Having been formed as a result of unimaginable temperatures and pressures, soon after the birth of the earth itself – some two to three billion years ago – the crystal then waited until, by chance, perhaps a billion years later, it became associated with a volcanic eruption that carried it upwards a distance of over 100 miles towards the surface. Having survived that tumultuous passage it still had to undergo the dramatic explosions and crushers associated with the mining process before eventually seeing the light of day – and the gaze of man – on the 16th November 2015. Perhaps no other gemstone could have survived such a journey unscathed - certainly no other diamond of this size has been recovered in more than a century. Only a few months have passed since Lesedi La Rona’s adventure with man began. Perhaps it will be cut and polished into the largest, most beautiful stone the world has yet seen, to be admired by countless generations down the centuries to come. Or maybe, as the survivor it is, it will remain untouched and admired not only as one of the earth’s most beautiful creations but also as the supreme symbol of permanence in our constantly changing world. David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division FORMATION “The cleavage faces and sculpted surfaces on the 1,109 carat rough lead one to consider the remarkable story of a natural diamond’s growth and transportation to the earth’s surface. Between one and three billion years ago, at depths of more than 140 kilometres below the surface, intense and dynamic surroundings lent the circumstances necessary for a diamond to form. But the extreme heat and pressure were also mitigating factors – conditions that may have limited how large it could become. After the mineral formed, it undertook a tumultuous journey through the earth’s crust, forced upwards against unimaginable odds through volcanic conduits and pipes. Those mechanisms deposited the diamond near the earth’s surface, where it could have been uncovered through mining efforts, or separated from its volcanic host rock by erosion. Many diamonds fracture or crumble under the tremendous stress of this journey or the mining process; the fact that a crystal of this size withstood such conditions is a combination of ideal conditions in nature and good fortune”. Excerpt from the GIA letter DISCOVERY The outstanding 'Lesedi la Rona' diamond was uncovered in Botswana, in the Karowe Mine, on 16 November 2015. It is the largest rough diamond ever recovered through a hard rock diamond mining process. Diamonds were first discovered in Botswana in 1969; they have been the main force behind the country’s economic expansion. The Karowe Mine, meaning “Precious Stone” in Tswana, is owned and operated by Lucara Diamond Corp., headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. After acquisition, the mine was completed in 2012 and is expected to have a production life of fifteen years. The mine has a production of approximately 400,000 carats of gem quality diamonds, including many type IIa, and employs almost a thousand people. Botswana maintains a beneficial relationship with all its mine operators and established protocols for all to be corporate citizens and adhere to the highest environmental and sustainability standards. The country is a participating member of the Kimberley Process. Botswana, Lucara and the Karowe Mine are all involved jointly in the highest levels of responsible field practices, management systems in Environment, Health and Safety. The cleavage faces and sculpted surfaces on the 1,109 carat rough indicate that the stone was once larger and Lucara has indicated that pieces of this stone have been matched. Many diamonds fracture or crumble under the tremendous stress of surfacing or by the mining process; the fact that a crystal of this size withstood such conditions is a combination of luck and an endorsement of the success of the new Tomra large diamond recovery machine which utilises X-ray transmission sensors. ‘Lesedi la Rona’ is circa 2.5 to over 3 billion years old, it was extracted in a kimberlite pipe approximately 200 meters below the surface in the South Lobe of the Karowe Mine. The following day, two more colossal diamonds weighing 813 and 374 carats were also found. “Though the Karowe mine went into production just four years ago, it has already earned a reputation for producing many of the world’s finest colourless diamonds. The 1,109 carat rough crystal is the flagship recovery from the mine and now holds the honour of being the second largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered”. Excerpt from the GIA letter NAME The diamond was first given a generic name after the mine (Karowe) and the pipe (AK6) where it was found. On 18 January 2016, Lucara Diamond launched a competition to name this spectacular diamond. The competition was open to all Botswana inhabitants. Entrants were invited to submit their suggested name and the rationale for their choice. More than 11,000 entries were received. On 9 February 2016, Lucara Diamond announced that the stone had been named 'Lesedi La Rona' which means "Our Light" in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana. The winner of the competition stated that his reason for the name was that "the diamond is a pride, a light and a hope for Botswana”. William Lamb, CEO and President of Lucara Diamond, commented: "The outpouring of pride and patriotism shown by all the participants in the contest was incredible. The diamond industry has played a vital role in the country's development, allowing for significant and ongoing investment in world-class healthcare, education and infrastructure. "Lesedi La Rona" symbolizes the pride and history of the people of Botswana." AN HISTORIC DISCOVERY In terms of its size, the gem quality rough is exceeded only by the legendary ‘Cullinan Diamond’, recovered in South Africa, in the Premier Mine, in 1905. The 3,016 carat ‘Cullinan Diamond’ produced nine major diamonds that are part of the historic Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, including ‘The Great Star of Africa’ – currently the largest top-quality colourless polished diamond in existence, weighing 530.20 carats - set in the Imperial Sceptre of Great Britain. The other important diamond cut from the Cullinan is a cushion-shaped stone weighing 317.40 carats set in the brow of the British Imperial Crown. The provenance of the 1,109 carat ‘Lesedi la Rona’ is the most significant colossal gem quality diamond rough extracted through modern mining methods to date. The ‘Cullinan’, the only larger gem diamond rough, was exposed in blueground approximately 6 feet below the surface and was extracted by the superintendant of the mine during a routine inspection. Lesedi la Rona is therefore the largest rough diamond ever recovered through a hard rock diamond mining process and the largest gem quality rough diamond in existence today. “Approximately a century after the discovery of the 3,106 carat Cullinan Diamond, another large, high-quality rough diamond was found in the Karowe mine in Botswana: at 1,109 carats, it is the second largest gem-quality diamond that has ever been discovered.” Excerpt from the GIA letter “The 1,109 carat ‘Lesedi la Rona’ is historic and significant as the largest gem rough diamond mined since the discovery of the 3,106 carat ‘Cullinan’ in 1905. This is a centennial event.” Excerpt from the GCAL report   THE POTENTIAL OF THE STONE Sotheby's commissioned two independent reports from Diamex Inc./Crodiam Consulting DMCC and Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (GCAL) to explore and give their opinion on the potential yield of the stone. According to these reports, the Lesedi la Rona may have the potential to yield one of the largest top-quality diamonds that has ever been cut and polished. “This crystal had the potential to produce one of the largest top quality polished diamonds of any shape that has ever been cut and polished”. Excerpt from the Diamex Inc. report “According to our preliminary calculations, this rough diamond could possibly yield the largest D colour faceted and polished diamond known in the world”. Excerpt from the GCAL report “The possibilities of how this rough could be fashioned into faceted diamonds are infinite. Master diamond cutters will undoubtedly spend hundreds of hours studying this rough before it ever touches a diamond cutting wheel”. Excerpt from the GCAL report COLOUR This diamond possesses exceptional transparency and quality, as mentioned in the GIA letter. Independent reports on the potential yield of the rough have also stated that there is a high probability that the resulting polished diamonds will be D colour – the highest colour classification for white diamonds. “The stone has high potential to be a D colour. The stone was observed under a polariscopic light to have limited to no stress and there was no surface graining evident”. Excerpt from the Diamex Inc. report “The cleaved faces are windows into the diamond giving us a view into the centre of the crystal… The ‘Lesedi la Rona’ is an extraordinary rough crystal of exceptional transparency and quality… The centre of the rough crystal appears to be clean so far as our field examination permits. The colour of the rough is very high, which we estimate will be graded as ‘D’ if faceted”. Excerpt from the GCAL report “The crystal has the potential to produce one of the largest top quality diamonds that has ever been cut and polished”. Excerpt from the GIA letter  “The Lesedi la Rona is simply outstanding and its discovery is the find of a lifetime. It is a huge honour for Sotheby’s to have been entrusted with its sale. Every aspect of this auction is unprecedented. Not only is the rough superlative in size and quality, but no rough even remotely of this scale has ever been offered before at public auction”. David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division  “We are very excited to be partnering with Sotheby’s on this landmark auction. Lucara has made innovation the cornerstone of its development strategy and this has led to the historic recovery of the Lesedi la Rona diamond. The forthcoming sale presents a unique opportunity to present this extraordinary diamond to a worldwide audience”. William Lamb, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lucara Diamond Corp

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2016-06-29
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Pikene på broen (Girls on the Bridge)

“No longer shall I paint interiors and people reading, and women knitting. I shall paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love – I shall paint a number of pictures of this kind. People will understand the sacredness of it, and will take off their hats as though they were in church.” – Edvard Munch Pikene på broen (The Girls on the Bridge) numbers among Edvard Munch’s greatest masterpieces. Painted in 1902, the same year Munch’s Frieze of Life was exhibited at the Berlin Secession, the present work captures Munch’s use of bold coloration, sharp perspective and sinuous line. Of his twelve oils of this subject, ten are in public collections – the present work is one of only two canvases remaining in private hands. Munch’s importance to the history of 20th century art cannot be overstated. From Expressionism to Fauvism to Pop Art his far reaching influence is impossible to ignore. Instead of visual reality, it is his uncanny ability to capture the human experience and its emotions that makes him one of the most powerful artist in history. Munch first visited Åsgårdstrand, a resort a few miles south of Oslo, in autumn of 1888. He took a holiday residence there in the summer of 1889, which he rented for some years until he purchased a house in 1897. In the following years, Munch traveled widely across Europe, making extended visits to Berlin, Paris and Hamburg, but often returned to Åsgårdstrand during the summer months. He painted his Frieze of Life there, characterized by his expressive winding line, distorted perspective and non-naturalistic colors that would ultimately inspire the Fauves in France and Expressionists in Germany and Austria. "The countryside around the little town of Åsgårdstrand near the west bank of the Oslo Fjord held an exceptional place in Munch's art. Munch was familiar with all of its features: the gently undulating coastline, the large crowns of the linden trees, and the white fences which materialized like fluorescent bands in the summer night. After several summer holidays there, he was able to immerse himself in the essence of the place in a way which made it a reflection of his own inner landscape, while simultaneously expressing the moods and feelings of an entire generation" (M. Lande in Edvard Munch, The Frieze of Life (exhibition catalogue), The National Gallery, London, 1992, p. 54). The year Munch first spent his summer in Åsgårdstrand, he wrote in his journal “No longer shall I paint interiors and people reading, and women knitting. I shall paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love – I shall paint a number of pictures of this kind. People will understand the sacredness of it, and will take off their hats as though they were in church.” George Heard Hamilton asserts that “In these three sentences he rejected the emotionally neutral subjects of Impressionism, and stated his determination to paint pictures expressive of states of mind and his vision of a group of pictures having a continuous, cumulative effect. The latter idea he developed as an extended Frieze of Life. As such it was never completed; the components were never definitely established, and although as many as twenty-two separate paintings were shown together at the Berlin Sezession [sic] in 1905, it remained a collection of disparate canvases differing in size, scale, and technique. Only the theme held the parts together, the theme of suffering through love towards death, suffering more mental than physical, realized by gesture more than by action, by facial expression more than by event. The individual episodes in sum comprise the fullest statement any artist has left of the fin-de-siècle mood of disillusionment with man’s material and social development” (George Heard Hamilton, Paintings and Sculptures in Europe 1880-1940, New Haven, 1993, pp. 122-24) Alongside Vincent van Gogh, Munch was the key pioneer of Expressionism. Both artists used the genre of landscape as a vehicle to express inner states of being. In depicting nature in a highly individual, internalized manner, Munch draws on the tradition of stemningsmaleri, or “mood-painting,” characteristic of Nordic art towards the end of the nineteenth century, notably his contemporary Harald Sohlberg. Alongside several fellow avant-garde artists, Munch abandoned the plein-air naturalism which had dominated Norwegian landscape painting, in favor of an emotionally charged and resonant vision of nature. In the present masterpiece, he took as a starting point a scene he would have witnessed in Åsgårdstrand. The strong perspectival device of the jetty (although the work is titled with “bridge”) allows for the deep recess of space flowing sharply towards the town at right. Munch used the non-natural color and distorted perspective to express emotion. Girls on the Bridge, one of Munch's most widely popular and acclaimed motifs, was painted during one of the most turbulent periods of his life. The rich symbolism of this picture relates to Frieze of Life, which takes the stages of a young woman's development from puberty to maturity as one of its themes. Girls on the Bridge continues Munch's exploration of these themes of sexual awakening and mortality. The image of a cluster of young women, huddled in a secretive mass between two points of land, resonates with explosive tension. Recalling his own emotional instability during the years he painted this image, Munch wrote to his friend Jens Thiis, probably in 1933: "...those years from 1902 until the Copenhagen clinic [in 1908] were the unhappiest, the most difficult and yet the most fateful and productive years of my life." Discussing Girls on a Bridge Antonia Hoerschelmann wrote: "Contemporary critics praised the work enthusiastically as perhaps the most mature and accomplished painting produced by the painter Edvard Munch. The painting was also received with great enthusiasm in Berlin, where Munch showed it to fellow artists in 1902. He reports that Max Liebermann considered it his best painting" (Edvard Munch – Theme and Variation (exhibition catalogue), Albertina, Vienna, 2003, p. 293). A fervent traveler, whose existence around 1900 can be best described as nomadic, Munch absorbed the visual arts, literature and performance arts of the many cities and countries he went through. “The stimulating effect of Paris is reflected in the masterpieces he produced just after the turn of the century, such as the lyrical and harmonious Girls on the Bridge, a motif of puberty charged with the eroticism of a Nordic summer night. It is probably the most outstanding example of Munch’s ‘new artistic use of colour’ which appears to have influenced the French Fauvists…. In this context Christian Krohg’s comments in an article of 1909 are interesting: ‘In conclusion, if I were to give an impression of Matisse as a painter, I would say that he resembles Edvard Munch… I think Munch is the father of Matissism, though he may perhaps disown his child” (A. Eggum in Edvard Munch, The Frieze of Life (exhibition catalogue), The National Gallery, London, 1992-93, p. 21) As was often the case with his serialist tendencies, Munch went on to produce several versions of Girls on the Bridge, creating between 1901 and 1935 a total of twelve known oil paintings and a number of variations in etching, lithograph and woodcut. Five of these oils depict groups of women – identifiable based on their hair, worn pinned up under their hats – while six depict groups of adolescent girls, whose brightly colored dresses and loose hair denote their age. Of the works in oil, several are in the collections of museums around the world, including the Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo; The Pushkin Museum, Moscow; Bergen Billedgalleri; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth and the Munch Museum, Oslo. Sue Prideaux has described how critical this image was for the artist: "The Girls on the Bridge is a continuation of his redemption-landscapes, a wish for resurrection into a clean clear world inhabited by innocents, a hope that all loves need not be disastrous. The first time he showed it, the painting became enormously popular; he had already promised it to Olaf Schou in place of one that had been destroyed in a shipwreck, but he wrote to Tante Karen, 'shame it was sold, I could have sold it twenty times over.' It has remained one of his most popular images. In his mind, it occupied a very special place" (S. Prideaux, Edvard Munch, Behind the Scream, New Haven, 2005, p. 202). Expressive use of color is fundamental to the present version of Girls on the Bridge, although there are some differences in composition with other versions from these first years of Munch's exploration of this motif. In the first version, originally called Summer Night, three young girls stand on the bridge at Åsgårdstrand and gaze into the water. The midnight sun creates a mysterious half-light which softens and dematerializes all the forms. Munch's draughtsmanship is organic and sinuous, paralleling contemporary developments in the decorative arts such as Art Nouveau and Jugendstil. In comparison, the present picture is characterized by a brilliant even light that eliminates mysterious shadows, sharpens and defines the forms and accentuates the contrast of color. A group of girls now clusters in the middle of the bridge, which recedes at a much sharper angle than in the Oslo picture, further into the picture plane, similar in perspective to The Scream. These views of Åsgårdstrand do not look outwards towards the fjord that would be the focus of so much of Munch’s Norwegian production. Turning his back to the picturesque harbor, the artist depicted a view up the jetty, towards the houses and trees lining the side of the fjord, with a small upward-sloping road taking the viewer's eye deep into the composition. While from a structural point of view the bridge plays a similar role as in The Scream, the overall treatment of the scene provides a less dramatic, more poetic atmosphere. In the strength of its color and radical perspective, however, the present work ranks among the most confident and stunning paintings of Munch's career. Ragna Stang has described Girls on the Bridge:  "Munch makes use of a handrail to accentuate the perspective – our eyes instinctively follow it towards the landscape in the background, even though we are unable to make out precisely where the railing ends and the road, which leads past the large sleeping house into the small town beyond, actually begins. The composition of this first version shows clearly how Munch has applied the same technique of elementary simplification that we have already seen in landscapes of the period. He has achieved a perfect sense of equilibrium in the way that the sharp diagonal of the handrail is matched by the white horizontal line of the wall, while the dark, brooding mass of the linden tree is mirrored in the water below the swirling lines of the shore. Munch specialized in the portrayal of still summer nights, and in this painting he has succeeded, by the use of subtle shades of pink, deep green and blue, in recapturing that mood as never before, the whole effect being further enhanced by the small, watery gold shape of the moon. Against this mellow and restrained background, the green, red and white dresses of the girls ring out as a fanfare of color, and we are reminded of the question once posed by Christian Krohg: 'Has anyone ever heard such resonant color...?" (R. Stang, Edvard Munch, The Man and his Art, New York, 1979, p. 170). The year the present work was painted was a seminal year in the artist’s career, both professionally and personally. After a long love affair with Tulla Larsen, Munch managed to separate himself once and for all from her in dramatic fashion. The affair ended in a self-inflicted gunshot wound, obliterating the knuckle of one of his fingers leading to a surgery he insisted on being awake during, which he would later use to create paintings of the medical procedure. The year 1902 however was also one of considerable career triumph - he first exhibited the Frieze of Life at the Berlin Secession, he bought and began to use a camera and he met Max Linde, who would publish, that same year, Edvard Munch und die Kunst der Zukunft (Edvard Munch and the Art of the Future). During this period Munch moved increasingly away from portraits and representations of people in outdoor settings towards the motif of landscape. This shift of focus, however, did not signify a departure from his earlier obsession with tormented, angst-ridden individuals. On the contrary, it was precisely this emotional and mental instability that gave the artist the insight to produce such masterpieces as the present work, in which he reached a certain level of abstraction, expressing the joys and anxieties of the human condition through the pictorial elements of color and form. “Munch’s statement ‘I do not paint what I see but what I saw’ suggests that he understands his work as the product not of an empirical, observational process but of the cumulative emotion of the mind’s eye. Intentionally and consciously, between seeing something in the world and realizing it in paint, he passes it through a mental filter from which it later emerges transformed in the intensity of the remembered moment. Like van Gogh and Gauguin before him and the Expressionists after him, Munch often uses color not for naturalistic description but to convey authenticity of feeling. Meanwhile his loose, flowing brushstrokes shape figures whose contours pulsate with lines and movements in the scene surrounding them. Understanding the world as a place of agitation and stress, Munch makes that vision literal; the emotional states that concern Munch are often disruptive—anxiety, jealousy—but he also knows quieter moods, like melancholy, loneliness, or, more positively, the shared solitude of lovers as in The Kiss, where the couple seem to melt into each other in an erasure of separate identities” (K. McShine in Edvard Munch, The Modern Life of the Soul (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Modern Art, New  York, 2006, p. 15). Munch's landscapes of this period had a strong influence on German Expressionist painters, who had the opportunity to see his works in several exhibitions in Germany between 1905 and 1908. The brilliant, wild palette that dominated Munch's canvases had a powerful impact on the Brücke artists who were eager to move away from their urban surroundings in Berlin and other cities, and to embrace the more 'primitive' life-style and wild nature of the northern German coast. It was the daring, expressive power of Munch's landscapes, pulsating with undulating lines and vivid, dramatic brush-strokes that had such a profound effect on some of the major figures of twentieth century art including Kirchner, Schmidt-Rottluff, Pechstein and Heckel. Munch’s breadth of feeling in his works of art is hard to fully express. Perhaps no other artist has created such deeply gripping and unflinching images – images that are honest and in that honesty evoke visceral reactions. Kynaston McShine in the introduction to the Museum of Modern Art’s 2006 exhibition Edvard Munch, The Modern Life of the Soul described the artist: “Edvard Munch is the modern poet and philosopher in painting. At the same time, he is passionately emotional, perhaps more so than any other modern artist. The extremes of joy and pain all come to him, and human emotions are presented in his work with a naked rawness that still startles more than a century after his vision was formed. His iconic constructions depicting events and moods from his own life create indelible images that occupy our minds. Munch’s painting as in The Dance of Life, encompasses a litany of emotions that covers life from birth to death. The narrative of Munch’s life and work, rooted in the nineteenth century, somehow transforms, through his own will and force, his personal experiences  into an extraordinary examination of what he terms ‘the modern life of the soul’ – birth, innocence, love, sexual passion, melancholy, anger, jealousy, despair, anxiety, illness, and death. His exploration of the range of modern experience in palpable psychological terms reflects an existential agitation” (ibid, p. 11). The present work has formed an integral part of several famed American collections. It was first brought to the United States by Norton Simon in the 1960s whose collection is now displayed in the famed Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. Wendell & Dorothy Cherry acquired Girls on a Bridge in 1980 when Norton Simon decided to pursue a collection more focused on sculpture. The Cherrys shared a life-long passion for collecting the very finest European and American Paintings. Their extraordinary collection included seminal works by Degas, Klimt, Modigliani, Sargent, Soutine and Picasso amongst others. Wendell Cherry passed away in 1991 and Girls on the Bridge remained with his widow Dorothy until 1996, when it was sold by Sotheby's. On this occasion, as in 1980 and in 2008, the painting achieved a new world record for the artist. In 2012 Sotheby's sold The Scream for $119 million, then the highest auction price in history. Signed E. Munch and dated 1902 (upper right)

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2016-11-15
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Superb and extremely rare fancy vivid blue diamond

The pear-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond of truly and outstanding colour and purity weighing 14.54 carats, mounted as an earring with a pear-shaped and a brilliant-cut diamond, post fitting. Fancy Coloured Diamonds The 17th century French merchant and adventurer, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, was among the first to be intrigued by fancy coloured diamonds. In 1669, he sold the Tavernier Blue Diamond, also called the French Blue, to Louis XIV.  In the first half of the 17th century, he was the first who made a reference to pink diamonds. Moreover, in 1642, he mentioned a very large rough pink diamond, weighing over 200 carats, shown to him by Moghuls in the Kingdom of Golconda. This diamond, named The Grand Table and valued at 600,000 rupees at the time, is still the largest pink diamond recorded to date. The French merchant also purchased two pale pink diamonds around 1668 and drew pictures of the stones in his travel book. Since the 17th century, the value of coloured diamonds increased considerably. Fancy coloured diamonds are rarer than their near colourless counterparts as their hues come from a disturbance during the formation process of the stone deep in the earth. For all coloured diamonds except pinks, the colour comes from trace elements that interfere during the formation of the crystal. A diamond is composed of pure carbon; it is the intrusion of another atom that causes the colour: nitrogen for yellows, boron for blues. Concerning pink diamonds, the colour is a consequence of a distortion of the crystal structure during the formation of the stone. Although other rare coloured diamonds, such as pink and red, are found in India, Brazil and Australia, blue diamonds are primarily recovered from the Cullinan mine in South Africa.    Apollo and Artemis   Leto bore Apollon and Artemis, delighting in arrows, Both of lovely shape like none of the heavenly gods, As she joined in love to the Aegis-bearing ruler. Hesiod, Theogony, 7th century BC, lines 918920 In Greek mythology, Leto (Latona in Latin), daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, had a liaison with Zeus and became pregnant with twins. When Hera, wife of Zeus, discovered this, she forbade Leto from giving birth on terra firma, the mainland, any island or any place under the sun. Leto eventually found the barren floating island of Asterios, later named Delos, which was neither mainland nor a real island, and gave birth there, promising the island wealth from the worshippers who would flock to the obscure birthplace of the splendid god who was to come. Leto gave birth to Artemis, the elder twin, without difficulty, but she laboured for nine nights and nine days with Apollo, according to Homer. Artemis, Diana for the Romans, became one of the most venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. She was the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls. She was often depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrow, and deer and cypress were sacred to her. Apollo is one of the most important of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman mythology. The ideal of the kouros, he has been recognised as the god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, and poetry. In Hellenistic times, as Apollo Helios, he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, Titan goddess of the moon. These magnificent fancy coloured diamonds are so exceptional that they deserve to be named after a god and goddess. Moreover, as the stones are quite similar in shape, dimension and weight, the names of a twin brother and sister are justly appropriate.   The Apollo Blue Mining Some of the earliest and most historical blue diamonds, such as the Hope and Idols Eye, are believed to have originated in the ancient mines of India. In more recent times, the only mine to produce blue diamonds with any regularity is the Cullinan mine in South Africa. When in full production, less than 0.1% of diamonds sourced showed any evidence of blue colour, according to the Gemological Institute of America. Thomas Cullinan discovered the Cullinan mine in 1902, which at that time was named the Premier mine. Established on the second largest kimberlite pipe by inherent value, the Premier mine gained immediate prominence as a quality producer of large colourless diamonds and also rare blue diamonds. Annual production from the Premier mine was the largest in the world for the mines first decade of operation. Perhaps one of the greatest finds in the mines history is the Cullinan diamond. The Cullinan diamond is the largest colourless diamond ever discovered with a weight of 3,106 carats which has since been cut and polished into nine major stones, including 96 minor stones. Two of them currently reside within the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Excerpt from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles website The Cullinan I weighing 530.20 carats and the Cullinan II weighing 317.40 carats are set in the Royal sceptre and the Imperial State Crown of the United Kindgom. The Cullinan mine is also the source of several important blue diamonds: the Blue Heart, a 30.62 carat Fancy Deep Blue gem discovered in 1908, now at the Smithsonian Institution, the 27.64 carat Fancy Vivid Blue Heart of Eternity, unveiled by Steinmetz in 2000, and the Blue Moon of Josephine, a superb 12.03 carat Fancy Vivid Blue stone sold for a record price per carat for any gemstone at USD 48.5 million (USD 4 million per carat) at Sothebys Geneva in November 2015. According to the records of the GIA Laboratory, the 14.54 carat Pear Brilliant diamond has been determined to be a type IIb diamond. Type IIb diamonds are very rare in nature (from our experience, less than one half of one percent) and contain small amounts of boron that can give rise to a blue or grey colouration Historically, the ancient mines of India produced occasional blue diamonds but today the most significant source is limited to the Cullinan (formerly Premier) Mine in South Africa. Among famous gem diamonds, the 70.21 carat Idols Eye and the 45.52 carat Hope are examples of type IIb. Excerpts from the GIA type IIb classification letter   COLOUR Fancy coloured diamonds are exceedingly rare in nature, but the intensity of the colour is also an important quality of the stone. The Gemological Institute of America grades fancy coloured diamonds as such: Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, and Fancy Vivid. Fancy vivid colours are the most sought-after. The amazing stone offered in this auction displays a very bright and deep fancy vivid blue colour. Even in the category Fancy Vivid, one can find different levels of intensity; the saturation and hue of this stone are absolutely mesmerising. Diamonds obtain their colour from so-called colour centres. They are single or multiple non-carbon atoms that replace carbon in the structure of the diamond, causing a disturbance in the structure and sometimes giving rise to the colour. The distinctive blue colour in diamonds is attributed to trace amounts of the element boron in the crystal structure. Minute traces of boron are required to create the colouration. Less than one boron atom per million carbon atoms is sufficient to produce the blue colouration. Excerpt from the Natural History Museum website Blue attracts and fascinates people and this is no exception when occuring in a diamond. Fancy vivid blue diamonds have a beauty that is incomparable to that of any other gem. They are greatly admired and eagerly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs alike. Often the blue colour is not evenly distributed, and on occasion almost entirely absent, therefore it is a professional challenge for the diamond cutter to encapsulate a beautiful pure even blue colour. He will spend months studying the rough in order to guarantee the greatest standards of proportionality, colour and beauty, and to bring out this captivating colour, making fancy vivid blue one of the natures rarest endowments of colour in diamonds. Accompanied by GIA report no. 1176680448, stating that the diamond is Fancy Vivid Blue, Natural Colour, Internally Flawless, together with a type IIb classification letter. 

  • CHESwitzerland
  • 2017-05-16
Hammer price
Show price

A highly important and extremely rare ru guanyao brush washer northern

Finely potted with shallow rounded sides rising from a slightly splayed foot, exquisitely veiled in a luminous and translucent bluish-green glaze suffused with a dense network of glistening ice crackles, the glaze thinning at the extremities to subtly reveal the body beneath and pooling particularly along the cavetto and foot to an unctuous caesious colour, the underside with three delicate 'sesame-seed' spur marks A RU ICE CRACKLE BRUSH WASHER Regina Krahl Ru guanyao, the official ware of the late Northern Song (960-1127) court from the kilns in Ruzhou, in modern Baofeng county, Henan province, has in the course of nearly a millennium gained quasi mythical status. Ru ware is a part of Chinas history, an emblem of Chinas philosophy, a metaphor for Chinas aesthetics in short, an icon of Chinas culture. The small and unobtrusive ceramic pieces are considered the epitome of the Chinese potters craft, but they are far more than just that, they have a significant story to tell. They can be considered the crowning glory of any collection of Chinese works of art, but they are and always were virtually unobtainable. With its glowing, intense blue-green glaze, its luminous, complex interlaced ice crackle pattern, its classic, excellently proportioned shape, and its three fine sesame seed spur marks, the present brush washer, formerly in the collection of the Chang Foundation in the Hongxi Museum, Taipei, is a picture-book example of Ru guanyao and incarnates to perfection the wares revered qualities. It would be difficult to find a better ambassador for Ru ware. Although Ru ware unlike guan ware of Hangzhou is very distinctive, it still shows great variation in the glaze, which can range from a pale milky-opaque green without any crackle, as seen on the brush washer sold in these rooms in 2012 (no. 29 in our list, below), to the intense, glassy blue-green with a light-catching crackle in superimposed, horizontal, flake-like layers, known as ice or broken ice crackle, found on the present piece. While some connoisseurs expressed a preference for the former, as, for example, the early Ming (1368-1644) writer Cao Zhao in his collectors handbook Ge gu yao lun [The essential criteria of antiquities], the latter seems to have been the ideal that the Hangzhou official (guan) kilns of the Southern Song (1127-1279) tried to recreate. Both types are extremely rare, and there are many variations in between, some rather matt and greyish, others with predominating, sometimes stained, crackle lines, that cut vertically through the glaze layer without reflecting light. Whatever ones taste in this matter, there can be no doubt that this ravishingly beautiful vessel represents one of the most desirable examples extant. Pieces closest to the present piece in glaze quality would seem to be one of the examples in the Sir Percival David Collection (53), one of the pair in the Röhsska Museum (57), and the piece in the Princessehof Museum (59). The list of preserved specimens suggests, that the best glazes were achieved on the smaller and simpler vessel shapes, while on the larger and more complex forms glazes often turned out less remarkable or even untypical, as on the famous pear-shaped vase in the Sir Percival David Collection, which Wang Qingzheng therefore went as far as doubting altogether (Wang et al., 1991, p. 116). The exquisite state of preservation of this washer would have required reverential handling over thousands of generations during its nine-hundred-year long history. The extreme rarity of Ru wares, which can hardly be overstated, is due to a combination of factors. When looking through the list of extant Ru pieces, it becomes clear that the Ru kilns did not practise large-scale series production. Of many shapes, only one or two examples are known, and vessels of the same basic form tend to differ in size and proportion and may be fired on three or on five spurs. Of the five extant bottles (nos 1-5), for example, only two are similar in form; the six narcissus basins (nos 6-11) come in at least two sizes; one of the three incense burners (nos 12-14) is much larger than the other two; and the thirty-three brush washers (nos 30-62) vary in profile and range in size from 12.3 cm to 16.7 cm, without any particular size predominating. Unlike in south China, where individual dragon kilns in the Longquan area for example, could extend to lengths of 100 m, Ru kilns were small bun-shaped (mantou) kilns less than 2 m long. Their capacity was further limited by the fact that Ru pieces were fired standing upright, each in its own saggar, rather than stacked upside down, like Ding wares, and the method of firing them, precariously balanced on rings or pads with three or five thin pointed stilts, undoubtedly led to many failures. In addition, pieces were generally fired more than once, first for the biscuit, and then at least once more for the glaze. Glaze crazing, originally an undesired effect of the different contraction of body and glaze during the cooling process, was first discovered as an asset on Ru ware; yet an attractive crackle pattern refracting the light, like in mineral formations occurring in nature, requires a happy coincidence of circumstances and cannot be produced at will. Ru ware evokes patriotic sentiments and nostalgic thoughts of glorious eras of Chinas past, such as the reign of the Northern Song Emperor Huizong (r. 1101-1125), one of Chinas greatest imperial art enthusiasts and connoisseurs; or that of the Southern Song (1127-1279) Emperor Gaozong (r. 1127-1162), who strove to recreate some of the dynastys lost splendour in the new southern capital Hangzhou, although this had just been intended as a temporary abode for the court, after it had been forced to flee from invading foreigners. Ru official ware was made for only a very short period of time, generally believed not to have exceeded twenty years, during the reigns of the Northern Song Emperors Zhezong (r. 1086-1100) and Huizong. The two decades from 1086 to 1106 put forward by Chen Wanli (Chen 1951) are still largely accepted as the most likely period of its production, even though some scholars have proposed slight variations. Although we have no indication of any direct imperial involvement in its creation, an imperial complaint about the unglazed rims of the white Ding wares from Hebei apparently led to an imperial order of green wares from Ruzhou in Henan instead, the first direct commission of ceramics by an imperial court, which until then had relied on tribute wares supplied by various manufactories. A taste for a ware so extremely modest and unspectacular could only evolve from a world view that propagated modesty and honesty over ostentation and pretence. This taste in ceramics manifested itself at a period, when the influential, idealist politician Wang Anshi (1021-1086) postulated, and practised himself, an austere and frugal lifestyle, and when amateur literati painters, whose concepts differed dramatically from those of the art academy professionals, pursued simplicity and artlessness in painting. Instead of displaying complex skills in elaborate compositions, they favoured natural and spontaneous depictions of humble motifs. As painters tried to render the atmosphere of a landscape at a specific moment, at a certain time of day or in certain weather conditions, potters were admired for achieving glazes of a specific shade (approaching the blue of the sky after rain), rather than for the shiny green surface in general that in the Tang dynasty (618-907) had evoked comparisons with jade. The non-precious ceramic material, the variation of hues achieved in the firing and the accidental crackle patterns appearing during cooling accorded perfectly with the new endorsement of simplicity, subtlety and spontaneity in art a form of understatement and connoisseurship that appealed to Chinas elite. With their discerning criteria for judging proportion, glaze structure, tonal range and tactility, Song connoisseurs in many ways anticipated modern design movements and Song ceramics still provide models of style and craftsmanship for potters today. Although this taste was originally borne by the class of Chinas educated scholar-officials, its sophistication at least as far as ceramics were concerned was fully embraced by the court. With the loss of the northern part of their empire to the Jurchen and the move of the capital to Hangzhou, the Song no longer had access to either the Ru or the Ding kilns a very visible reminder of lost territory. Since no southern manufactory was in a position to fill this lacuna, Emperor Gaozong, the first to rule out of Hangzhou, had new official (guan) kilns set up right inside the capital to make wares modelled on Ru ware for imperial use. It is exactly the glaze of the present washer, with its intense colour and broken ice crackle, that some of the most admired guan wares copied (compare, for example, some of the guan vessels in the National Palace Museum: Taipei 2016, pls II-2, II-7, II-11 and 12, II-42 and 43). When in 1151 a high civil official, Zhang Jun, who had moved south together with the Song court, made a gift of sixteen pieces of Ru ware to the Gaozong Emperor, it was a spectacular gesture that unmistakeably documented his power and wealth, as well as his allegiance to the Song court, and was duly recorded for posterity (in the Wulin jiushi, a book of memories of Hangzhou written by Zhou Mi, 1232-1308). How any official however powerful could have amassed such a large number of pieces that were notoriously difficult to come by, remains an open question, as only pieces rejected by the court were supposedly allowed to be sold, and it is unlikely that Zhang Jun would have offered the Emperor rejects of that kind. The high regard for Ru ware did not wane in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), when the term sesame seed markings to describe the wares characteristic minute spur marks, appears to have been coined. It appears for the first time in print in 1591 in Gao Lians Zun sheng ba jian [Eight discourses on the nurturing of life]. Unlike other Song wares, Ru was, however, virtually not copied then, presumably because too few pieces were in circulation to provide models. One notable exception is a monochrome blue-glazed porcelain version of an oval narcissus basin of Xuande mark and period (1426-1435), created by the Jingdezhen imperial kilns perhaps after a drawing (Mingdai Xuande guanyao jinghua tezhan tulu/Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Selected Hsüan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1998, pl. 36). It was by sending originals from the palace in Beijing to the porcelain kilns in south China as models, among them a Ru narcissus basin, that the Yongzheng Emperor (r. 1723-1735) managed to revive Ru shapes and glazes. A list of different porcelains ordered to be made for the Emperor in 1732 lists Uncrackled Ru glaze with copper-coloured paste, copied from the colour of the glaze of two pieces of the Song dynasty, and Ru glaze with fish-roe crackle of copper-coloured paste, copied from the colours of the glaze of a piece of the Song dynasty sent from the imperial palace (Stephen W. Bushell, Oriental Ceramic Art: Illustrated by Examples from the Collection of W.T. Walters, New York, 1896; reprint London, 1981, pp. 194f.). According to an inventory of 1729, thirty-one Ru brush washers of various shapes and sizes, with and without inscriptions, were kept in special, probably Japanese, lacquer boxes (Taipei, 2006, p. 25), some of them identifiable through their inscriptions among pieces extant in Taipei today. Several Ru pieces are also included in the two handscrolls titled Guwan tu (Pictures of antiquities), painted in the Yongzheng reign in 1728 and 1729, respectively, which record art objects in the imperial collection, among them the narcissus basin with metal rim (no. 7 in the list below, see Regina Krahl, Art in the Yongzheng Period: Legacy of an Eccentric Art Lover, Orientations, November/December 2005, p. 65 top right), and the bowl from the Sir Percival David Collection (no. 17, see China. The Three Emperors 1662 1795, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2005, cat. no. 168 bottom left). The Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795) appropriated Ru ware by having twenty-two of the eighty-seven extant pieces engraved with his poems, thus contributing further to the fame of the ware, even though he did not always correctly identify Ru ware, and at least in one instance had a poem inscribed also on a Yongzheng copy (ibid., cat. no. 197). In 1923, after the fall of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and before the opening of the Forbidden City as a public museum, a fire at one of the palace halls, supposedly deliberately planted by eunuchs in an attempt to hide that objects were missing, destroyed a storage area, where ancient works of art had been kept. From the burnt remains that were cleared by an outside company only some Ru wares, and some polychrome (doucai) porcelains of Chenghua mark and period (1465-1487) were apparently deemed worth keeping in spite of damage done to their glazes. Fifteen fire-damaged pieces are among the eighty-seven Ru pieces preserved world-wide. In the West, the identity of Ru ware came to be known through the International Exhibition of Chinese Art at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935-1936, to which the Chinese Government lent ten examples identified as Ru, although by that time several Western collectors already owned some, without being sure about their identity. Ru pieces from the collections of Sir Percival David and George Eumorfopoulos were also included in the exhibition. The opportunity to inspect first-hand and to handle so many Ru pieces led David to study the historical sources and to publish his ground-breaking Commentary on Ju Ware in the Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society right after the exhibition (David 1936-1937). In China, many attempts had been made to locate the kiln site, but it was only in 1986 that a site considered to represent the official Ru manufactories was identified at Qingliangsi, Baofeng, Henan province, with the discovery of proper kiln remains following somewhat later. Besides a large number of sherds of typical Ru guanyao vessels that were recovered, the excavations have also shown that the potters were more ambitious than the heirloom pieces let one to believe. Whereas virtually all extant pieces of Ru official ware are small and plain, the kilns experimented with many complicated sculptural forms, openwork designs and detailed engraved decoration, of which no complete examples are preserved, or may ever have left the kilns. Other more recently excavated kiln sites are now sometimes mentioned in this context as possible official kilns of the Northern Song period, in particular the Zhanggongxiang kilns also in Ruzhou, Henan province (Beijing 2009), but almost no extant heirloom pieces can be matched to those manufactories. ________________________________________________________ THE WORLDWIDE PATRIMONY OF HEIRLOOM RU OFFICIAL WARES Regina Krahl For no other Song dynasty (960-1279) ceramic ware a complete list of extant examples could be compiled, like this is possible for Ru official wares. This is due not only to the fact that Ru represents by far the rarest category of Chinese ceramics; there are also two other important contributing factors: First, Ru wares always represented revered treasures, treated with diligent care and conspicuously handed down. Although the list of extant pieces got longer over the years, since pieces are still occasionally coming to light that have languished undiscovered in museum storerooms not surprising especially where no specialist curator is at hand, since Ru ware is at first glance unobtrusive it is becoming more and more unlikely that examples hidden, unrecognized, in private collections will be found. Second, Ru wares have never been so closely copied that later copies, or contemporary pieces from lesser kilns, could today easily be mixed up with the real wares, as would be the case, for example, when trying to establish a list of extant Song guan wares from Hangzhou. The only other Chinese ceramic ware, where the establishment of a catalogue raisonné has ever been attempted, by Julian Thompson, are the imperial porcelains of Chenghua mark and period (1465-1487); but whereas the number of extant Ru pieces amounts to less than one hundred, Chenghua wares probably run to at least six times that number. The exact figure of preserved Ru guan ware pieces has intrigued scholars for decades and recorded numbers have been rising. When in 1958 G. St. G. M. Gompertz compiled a list of extant Ru wares, he assembled thirty-one pieces outside of China, in addition to ten sent by the Chinese Government to the Royal Academy of Art exhibition in London 1935-1936 (Gompertz, 1958, p. 34). No other pieces from any Chinese collection were known at that time. Since then, many more specimens have been published, particularly pieces held in China, but also a few preserved in collections abroad, which had not been made public before. Although Gompertzs list of Ru wares included a few pieces which today would no longer qualify as such, his number was not far off the present mark of securely verified pieces abroad, which has increased only slightly to thirty-six recorded examples. In 1987, Wang Qingzheng published a list of sixty-five heirloom pieces of Ru official ware worldwide, enlarging it to sixty-nine in a revised edition in 1991, but including some pieces about which he himself expressed doubts (Wang et al., 1987, pp. 38-40; 1991, pp. 115-117). In the catalogue of an exhibition of Ru ware in the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, in 2009, Degawa Tetsuro compiled a list of seventy reliable pieces (Osaka, 2009, pp. 279-87). In our last sale catalogue that presented a piece of Ru ware in Hong Kong in 2012, we were able to add nine further items to that list, arriving at a total of seventy-nine Ru pieces that can be considered heirloom, i.e. pieces that were never buried and excavated, but preserved and handed down above ground (Sothebys, 2012, pp. 40-43). These publications appear to have formed the basis for a yet more ambitious list included in a recent publication of the Palace Museum, Beijing (Beijing, 2015, pp. 260-305), where the museum made public for the first time several so far unpublished items from its collection, many of which had been damaged in the well-known palace fire in 1923 and thus had previously probably not be deemed worthy of publishing. This listing assembles a total of ninety pieces worldwide. Four pieces ought, however, be deducted from the list: a parrot-shaped fragment purchased by the Palace Museum, Beijing, in 2001 (Beijing, 2015, fig. 41); a brush washer donated to the Shanghai Museum, that was collected from and led to the discovery of the Ru kiln site (Beijing, 2015, fig. 42); a shallow bowl in the Guangdong Province Museum, which was reconstituted from a fragment (Beijing, 2015, fig. 54); and a bowl stand published and sold as Korean rather than as a piece of Ru ware (Guardian Hong Kong, 5.4. 2013, lot 414; Beijing, 2015, fig. 90). Although it is not always easy to establish beyond any doubt whether a piece has been excavated or was handed down, this author would also be inclined to suspend for the time being the inclusion in this list of four further pieces, whose heirloom status has not yet been verified: three brush washers included by the Palace Museum (Beijing, 2015, figs 34, 56, and 59) listed below as (88), (89) and (90); and one cup or small bowl that has recently come to light in Japan, listed below as (91). One further brush washer, which appeared in a publication in 1922 is presently unaccounted for, see (92) below. On the other hand, four vessels, whose status has been fully confirmed, seem to be missing from the Beijing list and can here be added: a third tripod incense burner in the Cincinnati Art Museum, here listed as 14; two brush washers in museums in The Netherlands and in Denmark, included below as 59 and 60, and a dish in the Shanghai Museum, 68 to bring the total number to eighty-seven. In 1986, when the kilns making Ru official ware for the Northern Song (960-1127) court were discovered and excavated in Qingliangsi, Baofeng county, Henan province, a large number of additional pieces, mostly damaged or fragmentary, was recovered from the kiln site. Since these pieces had obviously not been intended for delivery to the court, but were retained in the workshops due to perceived imperfection, or being unfinished (for example, in unglazed, biscuit-fired state), these are not included in our consideration here. Starting in 1940, no more than six Ru vessels have ever appeared at auction: The bottle from the Eumorfopoulos collection, now in the Sir Percival David Collection in the British Museum (no. 3), Sothebys London, 28th May 1940, lot 135. The narcissus basin with metal rim from the Ataka Collection, now in the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, (no. 10), Sothebys London, 17th March 1959, lot 26, and 24th February 1970, lot 1. The brush washer from the K. S. Lo Collection, now in the Hong Kong Museum of Art (no. 51), Sothebys London, 15th April 1980, lot 140. The dish from the Stephen Junkunc III Collection, now in the collection of Au Bakling (no. 80), Christies New York, 3rd December 1992, lot 276 (fig. 3). The reduced dish from the Stephen Junkunc III Collection, now in a private collection (no. 69), Christies New York, 29th March 2006, lot 401 (fig. 5). The lobed brush washer from the Alfred Clark Collection, now in a private collection (no. 29), Sothebys Hong Kong, 4th April 2012, lot 101 (fig. 4). What is most remarkable when looking through this list of eighty-seven heirloom pieces of Ru official ware, is that virtually all examples are now preserved in museum collections and no more than three pieces are left in private hands (figs 3-5). CATALOGUE RAISONNE OF EXTANT HEIRLOOM RU OFFICIAL WARES S nos refer to fig. nos in the Appendix of the Palace Museums Selection of Ru Ware, see Beijing, 2015, pp. 260-305 [ ] denotes heirloom Ru official wares preserved in private collections Bottles, angular, no foot (2) 1  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 22.4 cm, metal rim, fenghua and Qianlong inscriptions (S 1) 2  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 20.5 cm, reduced, Qianlong inscription on ground part of base (S 2) Bottle, globular (1) 3  Sir Percival David Collection, London, ex Eumorfopoulos: 24.8 cm, metal rim (S 60) Bottle, ovoid (1) 4  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: reduced, 17.9 cm, metal rim and foot, Qianlong inscription around ground centre of base (S 3) Bottle, pear-shaped (1) 5  British Museum, London, ex Alfred Clark: 20.1 cm (S 72) Narcissus basins (6) 6  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 23 cm, Qianlong inscription (S4) 7  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 23 cm, metal rim, Qianlong inscription (S 5) 8  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 23.1 cm (S 7) 9  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 26.4 cm, feet cut down, Qianlong inscription (S 6) 10  Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, ex Ataka: 22 cm, metal rim (S 83) 11  Jilin Province Museum: 23.2 cm, cut down, metal rim (S 53) Tripod incense burners (3) 12  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 24.8 cm (S 61) 13  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 18 cm (S 22) 14  Cincinnati Art Museum: 17.8 cm (Ellen B. Avril, Chinese Art in the Cincinnati  Art Museum, Cincinnati, 1997, pl. 63) Warming bowl (1) 15  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 16.2 cm (S 8) Bowls (2) 16  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 17.1 cm Qianlong inscription (S 24) 17  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 17 cm, metal rim, Qianlong inscription (S 63) Bowl stands, lobed (2) 18  British Museum, London, ex Sir Harry Garner: 16.5 cm (S 73) 19  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 17 cm (S 62) Bowl stand, round (1) 20  Victoria & Albert Museum, London, ex Sir Harry Garner: 16.5 cm, metal rim, inscribed with palace name (S 77) Bowl stand, flat (1) 21  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, ex John Gardner Coolidge: 18.7 cm (S 82) Tripod stand (1) 22  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 18.3 cm, Qianlong inscription (S 23) Basins (2) 23  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 15.9 cm, lost metal rim (S 16) 24  National Museum of China, Beijing, on loan from Palace Museum: 13.7 cm (S 35) Brush washers, oval, with twin fish (3) 25  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 14.2 cm (S 9) 26  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 14.2 cm (S 64) 27  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 14.5 cm (S 65) Brush washers, lobed (2) 28  British Museum, London, ex Alfred Clark: 13.6 cm (S 74) [29]  Sothebys Hong Kong, 4. 4. 2012, ex Alfred Clark: 13.5 cm (S 89, fig. 4) Brush washers, round (33) 30  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 13 cm, inscribed yi, (S 25, fig. 1) 31  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 12.9 cm, metal rim, inscribed yi, (S 26) 32  Palace Museum, Beijing: 13.6 cm (inscribed yi, fire damaged (S 27) 33  Palace Museum, Beijing: 13.4 cm, inscribed yi, fire damaged (S 28) 34  Palace Museum, Beijing: 13.5 cm, inscribed yi, fire damaged (S 29) 35  Palace Museum, Beijing: 13.9 cm, inscribed yi, fire damaged (S 30) 36  Palace Museum, Beijing: 12.8 cm, inscribed bing, fire damaged (S 31) 37  Palace Museum, Beijing: 12.8 cm, inscribed bing, Qianlong inscription, fire damaged (S32) 38  Palace Museum, Beijing: 12.8 cm, inscribed bing, Qianlong inscription, fire damaged (S33) 39  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 14.9 cm, inscribed jia, (S 10) 40  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 14.8 cm, inscribed jia, Qianlong inscription, (S 11) 41  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 13 cm, metal rim, inscribed bing, Qianlong inscription (S 12) 42  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 13.1 cm, Qianlong inscription (S 13, fig. 2) 43  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 12.9 cm, Qianlong inscription (S 14) 44  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 13.4 cm, metal rim (S 15) 45  National Museum of China, Beijing: 16.7 cm, metal rim, probably fire damaged (S 51) 46  Shanghai Museum: 13.5 cm, fire damaged (S 43) 47  Shanghai Museum: 12.6 cm (S 44) 48  Shanghai Museum: 12.6 cm (S 45) 49  Shanghai Museum: 12.3 cm (S 46) [50]  The present lot, ex Chang Foundation, Taipei: 13 cm (S 58) 51  Hong Kong Museum of Art, ex K.S. Lo: 13.5 cm, Qianlong inscription ground off (S 55) 52  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 13.7 cm, inscribed yi, fire damaged (S 66) 53  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 13 cm (S 67) 54  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 12.9 cm (S 68) 55  Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Sir Alan Barlow: 12.8 cm (S 78) 56  Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden: 13 cm (S 85) 57  Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden: 12.9 cm (S 86) 58  Rietberg Museum, Zurich, Meiyintang Collection: 12.8 cm, metal rim, inscribed bing (S87) 59  Princessehof Keramiek Museum, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, ex Nanne Ottema: 13 cm (http://friesmuseum.delving.org/thumbnail/friesmuseum/princessehof/GMP%201981-111%20[01]/500) 60  Kunstindustrimuseet, Copenhagen, Denmark, ex A. Oigaard: 13 cm (Osvald Sirén, Kinas Konst under Tre Årtusenden, Stockholm, 1943, vol. II, fig. 324) 61  Philadelphia Museum of Art, ex Major General William Crozier: 13 cm (S 80) 62  Cleveland Museum of Art: 12.9 cm (S 81) Dishes, deep, rounded (7) 63  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 18.4 cm (S 38) 64  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 15.8 cm, inscribed jia, Qianlong inscription (S 17) 65  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 21.4 cm, metal foot, Qianlong inscription (S 18) 66  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 18.4 cm, Qianlong inscription (S 19) 67  British Museum, London, ex George Eumorfopoulos: 19.6 cm, Qianlong inscription, fire damaged (S 75) 68  Shanghai Museum: 12.3 cm (Wang et al. 1987, pl. 32; 1991, pl. 32 and cover) [69]  Christies New York, 29. 3. 2006, ex Stephen Junkunc III: 17.5 cm, reduced, fire damaged (S 88, fig. 5) Dishes, deep, flared (3) 70  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 19.3 cm, inscribed with palace name (S 36) 71  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 19.6 cm, inscribed cai (S 37) 72  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 19.5 cm, Qianlong inscription, fire damaged (S 70) Dishes, shallow, flared (12) 73  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 17.1 cm (S 39) 74  Palace Museum, Beijing, ex Qing court collection: 16.9 cm (S 40) 75  Shanghai Museum: 17.1 cm (S 47) 76  Shanghai Museum: 17 cm (S 48) 77  Shanghai Museum: 17 cm (S 49) 78  Shanghai Museum: 17 cm (S 50) 79  Tianjin Museum: 17.2 cm (S 52) [80]  Christies Hong Kong, 3. 12. 1982, Au Bakling, ex Stephen Junkunc III: 17.5 cm (S 57, fig. 3) 81  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 17 cm (S 71) 82  British Museum, London, ex George Eumorfopoulos: 18.4 cm, Qianlong inscription, fire damaged (S 76) 83  St. Louis Art Museum, ex Samuel C. Davis: 17.2 cm (S 79) 84  Tokyo National Museum, ex Kawabata Yasunari: 17.1 cm (S 84) Dishes, rounded, no foot (3) 85  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 12.8 cm, metal rim, inscribed fenghua (S 20) 86  National Palace Museum, Taipei, ex Qing court collection: 10.9 cm, inscribed bing and cai (S 21) 87  Sir Percival David Collection, London: 12.1 cm, fire damaged (S 69) Potential Additions to the List Heirloom status unverified (4) (88) Brush washer, Palace Museum, Beijing, donated 1965: 13 cm (S 34) (89) Brush washer, Muwentang Collection: 13.9 cm (S 56) (90) Brush washer, Guanfu Museum: size unknown (S 59) (91) Cup, Japanese Private Collection: 10.2 cm, repaired (S ji no bi/The Beauty of Song Ceramics, The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, 2016, cat. no. 1) Present whereabouts unknown (1) (92) Brush washer, published as Korean, but probably Ru: 13 cm (Oscar Rücker-Embden, Chinesische Frühkeramik, Leipzig, 1922, pl. 43 a) ________________________________________________________ Selected Bibliography on Ru Official Ware David 1936-1937 Sir Percival David, A Commentary on Ju Ware, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 14, 1936-1937, pp. 18-63 Chen 1951 Chen Wanli, Ruyao zhi wo jian [My views on Ru ware], Wenwu cankao ciliao, 1951, no. 2 London 1952 Ju and Kuan Wares. Imperial Wares of the Sung Dynasty, Related Wares and Derivatives of Later Date, The Oriental Ceramic Society, London, 1952 Gompertz 1958 G.St.G.M. Gompertz, Chinese Celadon Wares, London, 1958 Wang et al. 1987/1991 Wang Qingzheng, Fan Dongqing & Zhou Lili, Ruyao de faxian/The Discovery of Ru Kiln, Shanghai, 1987; rev. ed. Hong Kong, 1991 Zhao et al. 1991 Zhao Qingyun et al., Ruyao de xin faxian/New Discoveries in Ru Kiln, Beijing, 1991. Ye & Ye 2001 Ye Zhemin & Ye Peilan, eds, Ruyao juzhen/Collection of Porcelain Treasures of the Ru Kiln, Beijing, 2001. Zhao 2003 Zhao Qingyun, ed., Songdai Ruyao [Ru ware of the Song dynasty], Zhengzhou, 2003. Taipei 2006 Lin Baiting, ed., Da guan. Bei Song Ruyao tezhan/Grand View: Special Exhibition of Ju Ware from the Northern Sung Dynasty, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2006 Baofeng 2008 Baofeng Qingliangsi Ruyao/Ru Yao at Qingliangsi in Baofeng, Zhengzhou, 2008 Beijing 2009 Ruyao yu Zhanggongxiangyao chutu ciqi/Ceramic Art Unearthed from the Ru Kiln Site and Zhanggongxiang Kiln Site, Beijing, 2009 Osaka 2009 Hokus Joy seiji: Kko hakkutsu seika ten/Northern Song Ru Ware. Recent Archaeological Findings, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, 2009 Sothebys 2012 Regina Krahl, Ru. From a Japanese Collection, Sothebys, Hong Kong, 2012 Beijing 2015 Ru ci ya ji. Gugong Bowuyuan zhencang ji chutu Ruyao ciqi huicui/Selection of Ru Ware. The Palace Museums Collection and Archaeological Excavation, Palace Museum, Beijing, 2015 Taipei 2016 Yu Peichin, Gui si chenxing. Qing gong chuanshi 12 zhi 14 shiji qingci tezhan/Precious as the Morning Star. 12th-14th Century Celadons in the Qing Court Collection, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2016

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1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti

1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti Châssis type 520/B, n° 0674 Moteur type 141, n°0674, numéro interne 2 - Voiture exceptionnelle à tous points de vue - Pilotée par les pilotes les plus célèbres, dont un Champion du monde - Deuxième aux Mille Miglia 1957 - Victorieuse du Grand Prix de Cuba en 1958 - Dans la Collection de Pierre Bardinon depuis 1970 Introduction L'histoire de Ferrari est due à un homme - Enzo Ferrari - et à son talent inné à choisir les meilleurs ingénieurs et les meilleurs pilotes pour glorifier de manière historique ses bolides à l'occasion des plus grandes courses internationales. Il est évident que dans l'histoire de la marque, les voitures d'usine, celles qui couraient pour la Scuderia Ferrari elle-même, les voitures 'officielles' ont été projetées dans le patrimoine mondial de l'Automobile comme de véritables mythes. Elles ont remporté leurs lettres de noblesse entre les mains des plus célèbres pilotes, de Juan Manuel Fangio, en passant par Trintignant, Moss, von Trips, Taruffi, Musso, Hill plus récemment Schumacher, Regazzoni, Alboreto… Tous ont écrit l'histoire des victoires de la Scuderia, construisant, course après course le mythe de Maranello. Aucune autre marque ne peut s'enorgueillir d'une image plus puissante que celle de Ferrari. Aucune autre marque ne fait autant tourner les têtes. Aucune autre marque ne produit un tel choc musical à chaque accélération. Aucune autre marque n'a autant remporté de victoires que Ferrari. L'équipe d'Artcurial Motorcars est très heureuse de présenter un de ces bolides d'usine, LE bolide, celui qui a permis à Ferrari de remporter le Titre Mondial de Champion du Monde des Constructeurs en 1957. Grâce à sa conception exceptionnelle, sa robe au dessin parfait et à ses proportions charismatiques, ses époustouflants résultats en courses, ses pilotes - les plus célèbres -, à son historique limpide et à sa provenance des plus prestigieuses, cette Ferrari 335 S symbolise le Mythe et le Chef d'œuvre des années 50 dans l'histoire de la compétition automobile mondiale. Elle en est la quintessence. Contexte Dans les années 1950, le cœur des sportifs italiens bat au rythme de ce qu'ils considèrent comme "la plus grande course du monde", les Mille Miglia. Les marques les plus prestigieuses s'y affrontent et les pilotes les plus aguerris se lancent dans cette course folle au départ de Brescia, couvrant plus de 1 600 km de longues lignes droites, de routes de cols sinueuses et de traversée de villes historiques. Pour défendre ses couleurs devant Maserati et Mercedes, Ferrari s'est au milieu des années1950 appuyé sur ses modèles à moteur quatre-cylindres dont la dernière évolution est la 860 Monza, puissante mais brutale. En 1956, il revient au V12, avec sur sa 290 MM un moteur dérivé de celui qui équipe ses monoplaces de Grand Prix. Doté d'un arbre à cames en tête par banc de cylindres et d'un double allumage, ce moteur 3,5 litres développe 340 ch à 7 200 tr/mn. Dès le départ, il se montre bien né et permet à Eugenio Castellotti de remporter les Mille Miglia 1956, suivi de quatre autres Ferrari. Habillée par Scaglietti, cette voiture incarne la finesse, la pureté et la légèreté propres aux bolides italiens de cette époque. Rapidement, elle va évoluer en 290 S dont le moteur, bien que de cylindrée identique, comporte une distribution complètement nouvelle, à double arbres à cames en tête par rangée de cylindres, inspirée de la Lancia D50 Grand Prix conçue par Vittorio Jano. A la fois plus léger et plus puissant que son prédécesseur, il débouche rapidement sur une version 3,8 litres Tipo 140 correspondant à la 315 S, puis 4 litres Tipo 141 sur la 335 S. Cette version à quatre arbres à cames en tête, double allumage et ses carburateurs quadruple corps représentait le summum de la sophistication mécanique à l'époque. Sa puissance avoisine ainsi 400 ch, ce qui permet à cette voiture de défendre brillamment les couleurs de la marque au cheval cabré. La Ferrari 335 S #0674 de la vente Le châssis n°0674 sort des ateliers Ferrari au début de l'année 1957. Carrossée en barquette par Scaglietti et dotée d'un V12 Tipo 140 de 3,8 litres quatre arbres, elle fait partie des Ferrari 315 S d'usine. Pour sa première course, elle est engagée le 23 mars aux 12 Heures de Sebring, entre les mains de Peter Collins et Maurice Trintignant, à côté d'une autre 315 S pilotée par De Portago et Luigi Musso. Après avoir tenu la tête pendant 20 tours, la belle Ferrari rétrograde et termine finalement sixième, devant De Portago, la victoire revenant à la très rapide Maserati 450 S de Fangio-Behra. Mais après ce "galop d'essai", c'est au mois de mai que la Ferrari va se confronter à l'épreuve qu'attendent tous les italiens : les Mille Miglia. Elle est cette fois confiée à Wolfgang von Trips, qui complète l'équipe Ferrari et ses deux puissantes 335 S 4 litres. Ces voitures vont dominer l'épreuve et permettre la victoire de Piero Taruffi qui, après 14 participations, remporte enfin cette course mythique malgré une voiture dont la transmission donne des signes de faiblesse. Juste derrière, von Trips dont la monture portant le n°532 fonctionne parfaitement, respecte les consignes de Ferrari de ne pas attaquer son coéquipier et termine deuxième. Ce succès de la marque italienne est malheureusement terni par l'accident de De Portago, à 40 km de l'arrivée : l'éclatement d'un pneu provoque sa sortie de route et le décès de plusieurs spectateurs, ce qui entrainera l'arrêt définitif de cette incomparable épreuve. Juste après la course, la Ferrari châssis n°0674 voit son moteur passer de 3 800 à 4 100 cm3, avant d'être engagée à la plus prestigieuse course d'endurance : les 24 Heures du Mans, entre les mains de Mike Hawthorn et Luigi Musso. Hawthorn prend la tête dès le départ, devant les Maserati et les Jaguar, et franchit au trentième tour et pour la première fois le record historique de 200 km/h (203,015 km/h exactement) de moyenne au tour sur le circuit des 24 Heures. Mais une défaillance moteur contraint l'équipage à abandonner à la cinquième heure. Le 11 août, l'usine envoie la voiture en Suède pour le Grand Prix de Suède (les 6 Heures de Kristianstad), à nouveau avec Hawthorn et Musso, à côté de la 335 S de Peter Collins et Phil Hill. Une bagarre s'engage avec les Maserati 450 S et les Ferrari doivent s'incliner mais Collins termine deuxième. La voiture de Hawthorn-Musso, qui a été victime d'un début d'incendie, a pu repartir pour franchir la ligne d'arrivée en quatrième position. La voiture rentre ensuite à l'usine où elle bénéficie d'une modification de la face avant, dans le style des 250 Testa Rossa "ponton fender", dans le but d'améliorer le refroidissement des freins pour affronter les températures élevées d'Amérique du Sud, pour le Grand Prix du Venezuela le 3 novembre. La 335 S châssis 0674 reste entre les mains de Hawthorn et Musso, à côté de l'autre 4 litres de Collins-Hill et de deux Ferrari 250. L'issue de cette épreuve décidera du Titre Mondial entre Ferrari et Maserati, et la bagarre s'annonce rude. La malchance s'abat toutefois sur la marque au trident dont les trois voitures abandonnent successivement dans des circonstances difficiles, laissant le champ libre au rival de Maranello qui remporte les quatre premières places ! Le titre de Champion du Monde des Constructeurs est acquis et la deuxième place de Hawthorn-Musso, dans le baquet de "0674", y contribue très largement. De retour à l'usine de Maranello, la Ferrari reçoit un nouveau moteur tipo 141 de la 335 S, numéro interne 2, puis elle est vendue en janvier 1958 à Luigi Chinetti, l'importateur Ferrari basé à New York. Le 24 février, elle participe au Grand Prix de Cuba, à La Havane où Masten Gregory et Stirling Moss remportent la victoire, la voiture portant la livrée bleue à bande blanche du NART. Elle est ensuite louée par Chinetti à Mike Garber et prend part au cours de la saison 1958 à plusieurs épreuves américaines, entre les mains de Gaston Andrey et Lance Reventlow (créateur des fameuses Scarab), signant plusieurs beaux résultats dont une victoire à Road America 500 et sur les circuits de Thompson et Watkins Glen. Sa dernière course enregistrée a lieu le 7 décembre lors de la Bahamas Speed Week, à Nassau, où elle est contrainte à l'abandon. En 1960, elle est cédée à Robert N. Dusek, un architecte résidant à Solebury, en Pennsylvanie. Dix ans plus tard, en 1970, Dusek vend la voiture à Pierre Bardinon, un des collectionneurs Ferrari les plus avisés de la planète, qui a constitué au fil des ans une des collections les plus sélectives de Ferrari de course, dans laquelle il a réuni les modèles les plus titrés ou les plus emblématiques. Sa collection est basée dans son domaine près d'Aubusson, dans la Creuse, où il a fait tracer un circuit superbe fait de courbes, de côtes et de descentes, comme un mini Charade. En septembre 1981, Pierre Bardinon confie la voiture à la carrosserie Fantuzzi, à Modène, pour une restauration dans sa configuration d'origine, avec sa première face avant (nous n'avons cependant pas retrouvé de facture de cette restauration). La partie avant 'ponton fender' qui avait été transformée pour courir en Amérique du sud sera délivrée au futur acquéreur puisqu'elle a été restaurée et conservée à côté de la voiture au sein du Musée de Pierre Bardinon. En dehors du circuit sur place, la belle Ferrari sort peu mais elle apparaît dans la splendide exposition "Hommage à Ferrari" organisée en 1987 par la Fondation Cartier à Jouy-en-Josas. Dix ans plus tard, en 1997, elle participe aux évènements organisés à Rome et Maranello pour célébrer les 50 ans de la marque. Pierre Bardinon qui, au fil des années, a cédé un certain nombre des voitures de sa collection, s'est toujours refusé à vendre la 335 S, malgré toutes les sollicitations ; il la considérait comme une pièce essentielle de sa collection. Cette voiture apparaît en photo dans les livres les plus sérieux consacrés à l'histoire de la marque. Il est rarissime qu'une machine de course de ce calibre présente une histoire aussi directe, claire, sans ombre, et dont le nombre de propriétaires est aussi limité. Avec sa provenance, son palmarès et son historique, cette voiture fait partie des Ferrari les plus importantes de toute l'histoire de la compétition automobile. Les pilotes successifs de #0674 Peter Collins Britannique, Peter Collins entre chez Ferrari en 1956 où il pilote la Lancia-Ferrari D50 et remporte deux Grand Prix, à Spa-Francorchamps et à Reims. Il fait équipe avec Juan-Manuel Fangio, titré Champion du monde cette année-là. C'est aussi un excellent pilote d'endurance : il se classe deux fois deuxième aux 24 Heures du Mans (1955, Aston Martin DB3 S avec Paul Frère ; 1956, Aston Martin DB3 S avec Stirling Moss) et une fois deuxième aux Mille Miglia en 1956 (Ferrari 860 Monza). Il trouve la mort au Grand Prix d'Allemagne 1958, au volant d'une monoplace Ferrari. Maurice Trintignant Pilote extrêmement populaire au délicieux accent du midi, Maurice Trintignant est un des rares Français présents en Grand Prix dans les années 1950. Miraculeusement rescapé d'un très grave accident lors du GP de Suisse 1948, il court pour Amédée Gordini avant de rejoindre l'équipe Ferrari en 1954. Il remporte cette année-là les 24 Heures du Mans avec Froilan Gonzalez sur la 375 Plus et signe en 1955 son plus beau résultat, la victoire au Grand Prix de Monaco, à bord d'une monoplace Ferrari vieillissante. Il a fait vibrer toute une génération de passionnés à travers ses souvenirs raconté dans "Pilote de course". Il s'est éteint le 30 octobre 2010 à Nîmes. Wolfgang von Trips Issu d'une noble lignée allemande, Wolfgang von Trips fait ses débuts en course au volant d'une Porsche, puis passe chez Mercedes en 1955, participant au Championnat d'Endurance. Il pilote deux fois en 1956 pour Ferrari, décrochant une deuxième place avec une 290 MM au GP de Suède, avec Collins, puis s'engage en Formule 1 en 1957 au sein de la Scuderia Ferrari. Sa meilleure saison est aussi celle qui verra sa disparition : en 1961, après avoir remporté deux Grand Prix, il se tue à Monza au volant d'une Ferrari 156 "nez de requin". Il est couronné vice-champion du monde à titre posthume, à l'issue de la saison. Il a participé cinq fois aux 24 Heures du Mans. Mike Hawthorn C'est le premier pilote britannique à remporter le titre de Champion du monde de Formule 1, en 1958, pour Ferrari. Ce succès constitue un aboutissement de sa collaboration avec l'équipe de Maranello, dont il a fait partie en 1953, 1954 et partiellement en 1955 avant d'y revenir en 1957 et 1958, année de son couronnement. Au volant d'une Jaguar Type D, il a remporté les 24 Heures du Mans 1955, année marquée par le dramatique accident de la Mercedes de Pierre Levegh. Très proche de Peter Collins, il avait été très affecté par le décès de ce dernier, au Nürburgring, en 1958. Hawthorn se tue quelques mois plus tard dans un accident de la route, au volant de sa Jaguar MkII. Luigi Musso Ce pilote italien débute sa carrière avec Maserati, au volant des A6G et 250 F, en Sport et en Grand Prix. Il passe chez Ferrari en 1956, aux côtés de Peter Collins et Juan-Manuel Fangio. Au GP d'Argentine, il partage la victoire avec Fangio à qui il a cédé sa voiture, et ses plus beaux résultats comptent une victoire aux 1000 Km de Buenos-Aires en 1957 (Ferrari 290 MM, avec Masten Gregory et Eugenio Catellotti) et à la Targa Florio 1958 (Ferrari Testa Rossa, avec Olivier Gendebien). Lors du Grand Prix de France, en juillet 1958 à Reims, alors qu'il est deuxième au volant de sa Ferrari 246, il sort de la route et succombe à ses blessures. Stirling Moss Stirling Moss est un des pilotes les plus brillants de sa génération. Malgré 16 victoires en Grand Prix, il n'a jamais remporté le championnat du monde, terminant trois fois deuxième derrière Fangio, en 1955, 1956 et 1957. En sport, sa victoire aux Mille Miglia en 1955 au volant d'une Mercedes 300 SLR est célèbre, car il signe le record absolu de l'épreuve à 157 km/h de moyenne, mais il a par ailleurs remporté la Targa Florio (1955, Mercedes avec Collins), les 1000 Km de Buenos-Aires (1956, Maserati 300 S, Carlos Menditeguy), les 6 Heures de Kristenstad (1957, Maserati 450 S, Jean Behra) et quatre fois les 1000 Km du Nürburgring (1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, sur Maserati et Aston Martin). Aujourd'hui âgé de 86 ans, il est encore présent régulièrement lors des épreuves historiques. Masten Gregory Masten Gregory fait partie des pilotes américains ayant signé une belle carrière en Europe. Malgré quelques coups d'éclat en Formule 1 (dont une troisième place à Monaco en 1957, avec une Maserati), c'est surtout en endurance qu'il va bâtir son palmarès. De 1955 à 1972, il participe 16 fois aux 24 Heures du Mans sur des voitures extrêmement variées (Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Lola, Porsche), mais c'est en 1965 qu'il signe la victoire à bord d'une Ferrari 275 LM du NART, dans laquelle il fait équipe avec Jochen Rindt. Il raccroche le casque en 1972 et disparaît en 1985 à la suite de problèmes cardiaques. La participation aux enchères pour ce lot est soumise à une procédure d'enregistrement particulière. Si vous souhaitez enchérir sur ce lot, merci de vous rapprocher du bureau des enchères ou du département Motorcars minimum 48 heures avant la vente. Addendum : Comme affirmé dans le livre 'Ferrari 315 S' écrit par Antoine Prunet et édité par Cavalliera en 1994, après l'accident tragique de la 335 S #0646 de Portago aux Mille Miglia 1957, les deux autres 335 S de la course, #0674 de la vente et 0684 furent placées sous séquestre pour les besoins de l'enquête. Elles ne disputèrent donc pas les 1000 kms du Nürburgring. On retrouve les deux bolides aux 24 Heures du Mans 1957. Certainement pour éviter d'acquitter les droits de douane, ce qui était coutumier à l'époque chez Ferrari, l'usine avait envoyé au Mans, et pour cette course uniquement, la 335 S #0674 sous le numéro de châssis #0656, dont la frappe est encore partiellement visible. Voici donc la fiche de pesage de #0674, enregistré sous le numéro #0656 fournie par l'ACO. #0674 retrouvera son identité initiale au Grand Prix de Suède, début août 57. Chassis type 520/B, n° 0674 Engine type 141, n°0674, internal number 2 - Exceptional in every respect - Driven by the greatest drivers, including a World Champion - Second in the 1957 Mille Miglia - Winner of the 1958 Cuba Grand Prix - In Pierre Bardinon's collection since 1970 Introduction The history of Ferrari is down to one man - Enzo Ferrari - and his talent for picking the finest engineers and drivers to immortalize his race cars in the world's greatest events. Throughout the marque's history, the factory cars, those run by the Scuderia Ferrari itself, the 'official' cars, have been granted legendary status in the heritage of the Automobile. They won their spurs in the hands of the most celebrated drivers, Juan Manuel Fangio, Trintignant, Moss, von Trips, Taruffi, Musso, Hill and more recently Schumacher, Regazzoni, Alboreto…All these names have contributed to the history of the Scuderia's success, helping to build, race after race, the legend of Maranello. There is no other brand on earth that can boast a more powerful image than Ferrari. No other brand turns as many heads. No other marque can produce such a musical revelation with each press of the throttle. No other marque has as many victories to its name as Ferrari. The Artcurial Motorcars team is delighted to present one of these factory racing cars. THE racing car. The one that enabled Ferrari to win the Constructors' World Championship Title in 1957. With its outstanding engineering, perfectly sketched lines and charismatic proportions, with its breathtaking race results, its great drivers, its continuous history and prestigious provenance, this Ferrari 335 S symbolises the Myth and the Masterpiece from the 1950s in the history of motorsport around the world. This car has it all. Context In the 1950s, the heart of sporting Italians beat to the rhythm of what was, to them, " the greatest race in the world ": the Mille Miglia. The most prestigious car manufacturers fought with each other and the most experienced drivers threw themselves into the ring for this mad race. It started in Brescia, and covered over 1600 km of long straights, winding mountain roads and travelled through historic towns. In the mid-1950s, to defend its colours in front of Maserati and Mercedes, Ferrari relied on four-cylinder models, the last of which was the 860 Monza, a powerful yet brutal car. In 1956, it turned to the V12, using an engine for the 290 MM derived from that used in the Grand Prix single seaters. With an overhead cam per bank of cylinders and dual ignition, this 3.5-litre engine produced 340 bhp at 7 200 rpm. It proved itself from the outset, powering Eugenio Castellotti to victory in the Mille Miglia in 1956, followed by four other Ferrari. Bodied by Scaglietti, this car embodied the ultimate finesse, purity and lightweight of Italian racing machines of this era. Before long the car evolved into the 290 S with an engine that was the same size but featured a completely new set-up. This time there were twin cams per bank of cylinders, inspired by the Lancia D50 Grand Prix engine designed by Vittorio Jano. Lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, it was developed as a 3.8-litre Tipo 140 version for the 315 S, followed by a 4-litre Tipo 141 for the 335 S. This four-cam version, with double ignition and four-choke carburettors represented the most advanced engineering of its day. It produced some 400 bhp allowing this car to defend the Ferrari colours brilliantly. The Ferrari 335 S #0674 in the sale Chassis 0674 left the Ferrari workshops at the start of 1957. Bodied as a barchetta by Scaglietti and given a four-cam 3.8-litre V12 Tipo 140 engine, this was one of the Ferrari factory 315S. The car's first race was the Sebring 12 Hours, on 23 March, in the hands of Peter Collins and Maurice Trintignant, and competing alongside another 315 S driven by De Portago and Luigi Musso. Having held the lead for the first 20 laps, this stunning Ferrari started slipping backwards and finally finished the race 6th, ahead of De Portago. The very quick Maserati 450 S driven by Fangio-Behra claimed victory. However, after this "trial run", attention turned to the event that all Italians were waiting for: the Mille Miglia in May. The car was given to Wolfgang von Trips to complete the Ferrari team featuring two powerful 335 S 4-litre cars. These machines dominated the event and victory was handed to Piero Taruffi who, after taking part 14 times, finally won this legendary race, despite suffering transmission problems. Just behind him came von Trips, whose car, number 532, performed perfectly. Respectfully abiding by Ferrari's principle of not challenging a teammate, he finished second. This success for the Italian marque was sadly overshadowed by De Portago's accident 40 kilometres from the finish: a burst tyre caused him to leave the road, resulting in the death of several spectators. This led to the end of the event itself. Immediately after the race, the engine of chassis 0674 was increased from 3 800 cc to 4 100 cc and the car was entered for the most prestigious endurance race of all : the Le Mans 24 Hours, driven by Mike Hawthorn and Luigi Musso. Hawthorn took the lead at the start, ahead of the Maseratis and Jaguars, and on the 30th lap broke the record for the average lap speed on the 24H Le Mans circuit, the first time anyone had exceeded 200 km/h (203.015 km/h to be exact). Unfortunately an engine problem forced the team to retire in the 5th hour. On 11 August, the factory sent the car to Sweden for the Swedish Grand Prix (the Kristianstad 6 Hours), driven once more by Hawthorn and Musso, alongside the 335 S of Peter Collins and Phil Hill. A battle ensued with the Maserati 450 S entries and the Ferrari had to give way, although Collins finished second. Hawthorn and Musso had to deal with a fire breaking out in their car, but nevertheless finished the race in fourth position. The Ferrari then went back to the factory where it was modified at the front, in the style of the 250 Testa Rossa "ponton fender", to help cool the brakes more effectively for the hot South American climate of the Venezuelan Grand Prix on 3 November. The 335 S, chassis 0674, remained in the hands of Hawthorn and Musso, alongside the other 4-litre car of Collins-Hill and the two Ferrari 250. The result of this race would decide the World Title, a battle between Ferrari and Maserati, and this battle was fiercely contested. Maserati suffered a run of bad luck, however, with all three cars retiring in difficult circumstances. This left the way clear for their rival Maranello, who finished 1-2-3-4! The Constructors' World Championship Title was theirs and the second place of Hawthorn-Musso in chassis 0674 had played a major part. Returning to the factory at Maranello, the Ferrari received a new engine - the 335 S Tipo 141, internal number 2 - and in January 1958 was sold to Luigi Chinetti, the Ferrari importer based in New York. On 24 February, the car took part in the Cuban Grand Prix, in Havana, sporting the NART livery of blue with a white stripe, driven by Masten Gregory and Stirling Moss who won the race. Chinetti then rented the car to Mike Garber, who entered chassis 0674 for various races in the US during the 1958 season, driven by Gaston Andrey and Lance Reventlow (creator of the famous Scarab). There were some excellent results including a victory in the Road America 500 and on the circuits at Thompson and Watkins Glen. The last recorded race entry was on 7 December, during the Bahamas Speed Week in Nassau, where 0674 was forced to retire. In 1960 the Ferrari was sold to Robert N. Dusek, an architect living in Solebury, Pennsylvania. Ten years later, in 1970, Dusek sold the car to Pierre Bardinon, one of the most knowledgeable Ferrari collectors in the world. Over a period of years, Bardinon put together a highly selective collection of Ferrari competition cars, bringing together the most successful and the most iconic models. His collection was based near Aubusson, in Creuse, where he built a private circuit, full of gradients and tight curves, like a mini-Charade. In September 1981, Pierre Bardinon entrusted the car to the workshop Fantuzzi in Modena, to be restored to its original configuration, with its first front nose (we have not been able to locate bills for this restoration). The 'ponton fender' front section that was transformed to run in South America will be delivered to the new owner, as it was restored and kept alongside the car in Pierre Bardinon's museum. Apart from trips out on the private circuit, this stunning Ferrari has not been seen much in recent years, although it did appear in the splendid exhibition "Homage to Ferrari" organised in 1987 by the Cartier Foundation in Jouy-en-Josas. Ten years later, in 1997, it participated in events organised in Rome and Maranello to celebrate the marque's 50th anniversary. Pierre Bardinon sold some of the cars in his collection over the years but always refused to sell the 335S, despite endelss appeals; he saw this car as an essential part of his collection. Photographs of this car appear in the most important books on the history of the marque. It is rare that a racing car of this calibre has such clear and direct history, without any uncertainty, and with a small number of owners. Such provenance, racing history and historical importance makes this one of the most important Ferrari in the history of motorsport. Successive drivers of #0674 Peter Collins Peter Collins, British, joined Ferrari in 1956, driving the Lancia-Ferrari D50 and winning two Grand Prix, at Spa-Francorchamps and Reims. His teammate was Juan-Manuel Fangio, who was crowned World Champion that year. He was also a talented endurance driver : he finished second twice in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race (1955, Aston Martin DB3 S with Paul Frère ; 1956, Aston Martin DB3 S with Stirling Moss), and also finished second in the Mille Miglia in 1956 (Ferrari 860 Monza). He died at the wheel of a Ferrari single-seater in the German Grand Prix in 1958. Maurice Trintignant An extremely popular racing driver with a wonderful southern accent, Maurice Trintignant was one of very few French drivers in Grand Prix racing during the 1950s. Having made a miraculous escape from a serious accident during the 1948 Swiss Grand Prix, he ran for Amédée Gordini before joining the Ferrari team in 1954. He won the Le Mans 24 Hour Race that year, with Froilan Gonzalez, in the 375 Plus and achieved his finest result in 1955, winning the Monaco Grand Prix in an ageing Ferrari single-seater. He inspired a whole generation of enthusiasts with his memories recounted in "Pilote de course". He passed away on 30 October 2010 in Nîmes. Wolfgang von Trips Descended from German nobility, Wolfgang von Trips started racing in a Porsche, moving to Mercedes in 1955 to take part in the endurance championship. During 1956 he drove twice for Ferrari, achieving second place in a 290 MM at the Swedish Grand Prix, with Peter Collins. In 1957 he joined the Scuderia Ferrari to take part in Formula 1. His most successful season was also his last: in 1961, having won two Grand Prix, he was killed in Monza at the wheel of a Ferrari 156 "Sharknose". He was awarded runner-up in the World Championship posthumously, at the end of the season. Von Trips took part in the Le Mans 24 Hours five times. Mike Hawthorn Mike Hawthorn was the first British driver to be crowned Formula 1 World Champion, driving for Ferrari in 1958. This success constituted the crowning glory of his collaboration with the Maranello team, that he had been part of in 1953, 1954 and part of 1955, before returning in 1957 and 1958, the year he became champion. He won the Le Mans 24 Hour Race at the wheel of a Jaguar D-Type in 1955, the year the event was marred by the dramatic accident involving the Mercedes of Pierre Levegh. He was very close to Peter Collins, and was deeply affected by the death of Collins at the Nürburgring in 1958. Hawthorn died a few months later in a road accident, at the wheel of his Jaguar MkII. Luigi Musso This Italian driver started his career with Maserati, driving an A6G and a 250 F, in sports car and Grand Prix racing. He moved to Ferrari in 1956, to join Peter Collins and Juan-Manuel Fangio. In the Argentinian Grand Prix, his win was shared with Fangio who took over the car from him. His finest results include a win in the 1957 Buenos-Aires 1000km (Ferrari 290 MM, with Masten Gregory and Eugenio Catellotti), and a victory in the 1958 Targa Florio (Ferrari Testa Rossa, with Olivier Gendebien). At Reims, during the French Grand Prix in July 1958, when he was running second in his Ferrari 246, he left the road and succumbed to his injuries. Stirling Moss Stirling Moss was one of the most outstanding drivers of his generation. Despite 16 Grand Prix victories, he never won the World Championship, finishing second three times behind Fangio, in 1955, 1956 and 1957. His victory in the Mille Miglia in 1955 in a Mercedes 300 SLR is famous, as he achieved the overall record for the event, with an average speed of 157 km/h. Other major wins included the Targa Florio (1955, Mercedes with Collins), the Buenos-Aires 1000 Km (1956, Maserati 300 S, Carlos Menditeguy), the Kristenstad 6 Hours (1957, Maserati 450 S, Jean Behra) and the Nürburgring 1000 Km four times (1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, for Maserati and Aston Martin). Now aged 86 years, he still attends historic motorsport events on a regular basis. Masten Gregory Masten Gregory was one of the American drivers who enjoyed a successful career in Europe. Despite a few moments of brilliance in Formula 1 (including a third place finish in Monaco in 1957 in a Maserati), it was in endurance racing that he really built his reputation. Between 1955 and 1972 he took part 16 times in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race in an extraordinary variety of cars (Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Lola, Porsche). He won the race in 1965 in a NART Ferrari 275 LM, with his teammate Jochen Rindt. He hung up his helmet in 1972 and died in 1985 following heart problems. Participating in the auction on this lot is subject to a special registration process. If you would like to bid on this lot, please get in touch with the bidding office or the motor car department at least 48 hours before the sale. Addendum : As stated in the book 'Ferrari 315 S' written by Antoine Prunet and published by Cavalliera in 1994, following the tragic accident involving Portago's 335 S #0646 in the 1957 Mille Miglia, the two other 335 S from the race, including #0674, the car presented here, were impounded for the investigation by the Italian autorities. For this reason, the two race cars didn't take part in the Nürburgring 1000 kms, but reappeared for the 1957 Le Mans 24 Hour race. In all probability to avoid paying customs duties, customary at Ferrari at the time, the factory sent to Le Mans - for this race only - the 335 S #0674 under the chassis number #0656, the stamping of this number still being partially visible. So here is the weighing sheet for #0674, registered with the number #0656, supplied by the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest). #0674 regained its initial identity at the Swedish Grand Prix at the start of August 1957. Estimation 28 000 000 - 32 000 000 € Sold for 32,075,200 €

  • FRAFrance
  • 2016-02-05
Hammer price
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An exceptionally important and fine doucai 'chicken cup' mark and

Arguably the most celebrated porcelain throughout the centuries, delicately potted with flawless translucent sides flaring out from the countersunk base to a subtly everted rim, the exterior painted in faint outlines of cobalt blue under the glaze and picked out in overglaze enamels of yellow, green, light and dark olive green, and two tones of iron red with a lively continuous scene of a red rooster and his golden hen out in a garden with their chicks, one side of the cup depicting the rooster with his head turned back to see the hen pecking at a red-winged insect on the ground as one of the chicks looks on, while the other two chicks chase each other around a small patch of leaves, the reverse with the proud rooster arching his neck forward raising his head with his beak slightly opened as if to crow, while the hen tends to their brood of chicks, the hen hunched over pecking at a red-winged insect on the ground as one of the chicks stands on her back and the other two peep for attention in the foreground, the two scenes divided on one side by jagged underglaze blue rocks and yellow lily flowers with bright green leaves, the other side with a rose bush issuing brilliant red flowers and lush leaves next to a blue garden rock, the entire cup painted in an artless style further reflected in the six-character reign mark in underglaze blue framed within double squares inscribed on the countersunk base, the immaculate porcelain body covered with a characteristic silky glaze, pooling on the base slightly veiling the mark The Meiyintang 'Chicken Cup' by Regina Krahl The term ‘chicken cup’, which denotes a tiny porcelain wine cup painted with cocks, hens and chicks, has for centuries evoked one of the most desirable possessions for connoisseurs of Chinese works of art – imperial and otherwise. A ‘chicken cup’ is the crowning glory of any collection of Chinese porcelain. Created in the Chenghua reign (1465-87), when quality was at its peak, ‘chicken cups’ are outstanding in their tactile material, their range of colours, and their charming, unmannered painting style. Since quantities produced were at that time rather low, it is today almost impossible to acquire a genuine Chenghua example, only three other examples being preserved in private collections. Chenghua ‘chicken cups’ were only ever offered for sale at auction at Sotheby’s, once during the 1960s, twice during the ‘70s, three times during the ‘80s, once during the ‘90s (the present cup), and none has been available since. A ‘chicken cup’ is not only celebrated as one of the finest and rarest specimens of Chinese ceramics – its materials, potting, painting and firing being of the highest quality – but it also is testimony to Chinese ceramic connoisseurship over the centuries and as such is a historical document that illustrates an aspect of China’s culture. Praised and desired by Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) emperors and other discerning literati collectors, ‘chicken cups’ have acquired a legendary aura that goes well beyond their immediate art-historical importance. The Chenghua reign stands out among China’s imperial porcelain production for the unmatched level of craftsmanship and artfulness of its creations. For the longest part of the reign the style of the Xuande period (1426-35), the last reign before Chenghua to have produced fine imperial wares, remained influential. Only the final years of the reign saw a new departure of Jingdezhen’s imperial porcelain industry. This is when all the fine wares peculiar to this reign were created, including the ‘chicken cups’. Two major surveys of Chenghua porcelain have been published by Liu Xinyuan and Ts’ai Ho-pi, who agree on this point (Liu Xinyuan, ‘Jingdezhen chutu Ming Chenghua guanyao yiji yu yiwu zhi yanjiu/A Study of the Site of the Chenghua Imperial Kiln at Jingdezhen and Related Archaeological Finds’, in the exhibition catalogue A Legacy of Chenghua: Imperial Porcelain of the Chenghua Reign Excavated from Zhushan, Jingdezhen, The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1993, pp. 18-87; and Cai Hebi [Ts’ai Ho-pi], Chuanshi pin Chenghua ci/Everlasting Chenghua Porcelain, Taipei, 2003). Cai and Liu disagree, however, on the exact years of and precise reasons for this innovation, although the involvement of the Emperor’s notorious favourite concubine Wan Guifei seems without doubt, and the production period seems in any case to be confined to the decade prior to 1485, when the imperial kilns halted production. The characteristic porcelains of the Chenghua period, those of this late period, tend to be small and unpretentious, and seem at first glance unassuming and modest. They were intended for individual appreciation and handling rather than for display, and need a connoisseur’s glance and touch to be taken in in all their magnificence. Given the strict supervision and precise stipulations by the court in this period, it is hardly surprising that the material quality was improved compared to previous reigns, but it is most remarkable that the painted decoration on these cups could become so free and uncontrived. The painting tends to be much less formal and predictable than in previous reigns, with an unprecedented softness and elegance. Liu Xinyuan considers the distinctive, somewhat naïve calligraphy of the Chenghua reign mark to be that of the young Emperor himself, and marks enclosed in a double square, which are characteristic of doucai wares, were an innovation of the late Chenghua phase. Exactingly shaped and carefully finished, a ‘chicken cup’ with its recessed base and lack of a foot sits particularly well in the hand. The sensuous pleasure of the touch of a piece of Chenghua porcelain is well known, and Chenghua ‘chicken cups’ are no exception in this respect. The extremely fine, tactile white paste of late Chenghua wares that has no match among Jingdezhen porcelains of any period, is due to refined body and glaze recipes, with increased levels of aluminium oxide and reduced iron oxide compared to those of the Xuande reign, enabling higher firing temperatures and resulting in a whiter, denser biscuit, as well as a lower content of iron and calcium oxide in the glaze, making it clearer and finer and giving it a distinctive, soft sheen. The doucai colour scheme was not developed but refined in the Chenghua period. Doucai, has been translated as contrasting, contending, interlocking, joined or dovetailed colours, referring either to the contrast of the mostly primary colours or the fact that overglaze enamels are fitted into underglaze outlines. When imperial kilns made their first polychrome porcelains in the Xuande reign, it was ritual vessels with lançainvocations for use in Tibet, in a context where bright primary colours were revered. The delayed appearance of multi-coloured wares for use at court was obviously by choice. For the best wares of the Chenghua reign, such as ‘grape’ and ‘chicken cups’, attempts were made to increase the palette. ‘Chicken cups’ show different tones of red, a light and a dark olive green (green and yellow superimposed), yellow as well as a shaded pale underglaze blue used as a wash. For the chickens’ plumage several enamels were superimposed to create a rich variegated effect. The repeat firings necessary for this process naturally would have reduced the number of successfully completed examples. The design of a cock and a hen with chicks in a garden is not encountered on porcelain before the Chenghua reign. The subject matter, however, was a well-known topic of Song dynasty (960-1279) painting and the Chenghua Emperor inscribed a poetic colophon about the subject on a Song hanging scroll of a hen and chicks (see Ts’ai Ho-pi in The Emperor’s broken china. Reconstructing Chenghua porcelain, Sotheby’s, London, 1995, p. 22, fig. 1) (Fig. 1). The Wanli Emperor (r. 1572-1620) is known to have admired Chenghua ‘chicken cups’ in particular, which made them expensive already at that time. During the Kangxi period (1662-1722) their value rose even further and is said to have surpassed that of the celebrated Song wares. The Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-95) wrote an ode in praise of ‘chicken cups’. To own a Chenghua doucai cup at that time had become synonymous with enjoying a small fortune. In the novel Hong lou meng (Dream of the Red Chamber) by Cao Xueqin (died 1763) Granny Liu accidentally drank from such a cup, making it thus unusuable for other members of the family. The cup was therefore kindly offered to the poor woman so that she would be able to live out her days on the proceeds. The National Palace Museum, Taipei, holds eight authentic Chenghua ‘chicken cups’ together with many later copies, all of them listed in Gugong ciqi lu [Record of porcelains from the Old Palace], Taipei, 1961-6, part II, vol.1, pp. 253-5, of which six genuine examples were selected for the exhibition Chenghua ciqi tezhan/Special Exhibition of Ch’eng-hua Porcelain Ware, 1465-1487, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2003, cat. nos. 132-7; and two others for the exhibition Ming Chenghua ciqi tezhan [Special exhibition of Ming Chenghua porcelain], Taipei, 1977, col. pl. 1 and pl. 29, the latter illustrated again in colour in Porcelain of the National Palace Museum. Enamelled Ware of the Ming Dynasty, vol. I, Hong Kong, 1966, pl. 13. Five other museum collections can boast a Chenghua example: the British Museum, London, from the Sir Percival David Collection, included in the exhibition Flawless Porcelains. Imperial Ceramics from the Reign of the Chenghua Emperor, Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1995, cat. no. 22; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, illustrated in John Ayers, Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1980, col. pl. 50; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, from the Evill collection, published in the Museum’s Annual Report of 1965; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, from the collection of W.W. Winkworth, sold in our London rooms, 27th November 1973, lot 308A, and again in our New York rooms, 4th December 1984, lot 332, and illustrated in Suzanne G.Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, col. pl. 24; and the Collections Baur, Geneva, from the George Eumorfopoulos and Mrs. Walter Sedgwick collections, sold in our London rooms, 2nd July 1968, lot 135, and illustrated in John Ayers, The Baur Collection Geneva: Chinese Ceramics, Geneva, 1968-74, vol. II, pl. A 141. The authenticity of two cups in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published as genuine in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 177, has been challenged by the late Julian Thompson, the world’s leading authority on Chenghua porcelain, who believed that there are no Chenghua ‘chicken cups’ remaining in mainland China. Only three other Chenghua ‘chicken cups’ appear to remain in private hands: two examples formerly in the collection of Edward T. Chow, one sold in these rooms 25th November 1980, lot 31, and illustrated in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London: The British Museum Press, 2001, p. 159 figs 2 and 3 centre; the other sold in these rooms 19th May 1981, lot 429 and now in the Au Bak Ling collection and included in the exhibition 100 Masterpieces of Imperial Chinese Ceramics from the Au Bak Ling Collection, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1998; the third, formerly the pair to the present cup in the Dreyfus collection, exhibited together with it in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition 1957, and illustrated in the Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 30, 1955-57, pl. 46, no. 175 right, was sold in our London rooms, 2nd March 1971, lot 166. Even fragmentary ‘chicken cups’ appear to be rare among the excavations at the Ming imperial kiln site in Jingdezhen, where sherds of an unfinished cup, painted in underglaze blue only and still lacking the enamels, were recovered from the third and last Chenghua stratum, datable to the final years of the reign, and included in the exhibition The Emperor’s broken china. Reconstructing Chenghua porcelain, Sotheby’s, London, 1995, cat. no. 23. This clearly shows that the complete design was drawn onto the unglazed porcelain in pale underglaze blue before firing, even if some outlines were later hidden under the enamels. More recently sherds of enamelled ‘chicken cups’ have also come to light and one is illustrated in ‘Jiangxi Jingdezhen Ming Qing yuyao yizhi fajue jianbao/Brief Excavation Report on Imperial Kiln of the Ming and Qing Dynasties Located in Jingdezhen City of Jiangxi Province’, Wenwu 2007, no. 5, p. 25, pl. 78. A cup recomposed from sherds has been sold at Christie’s London, 16th November 1999, lot 195. The present cup comes now from the Meiyintang collection, one of the finest private collections of Chinese ceramics to have been assembled in the second half of the 20th century, and has a long history in the West, going back to the 1950s. It was then in the collection of Mrs. Leopold Dreyfus, a London-based collector, who owned an important but little known collection of Chinese ceramics, and lent to several exhibitions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, of which she was a member until the late 1980s. It comes in a box commissioned by the collector-dealer Edward T. Chow, and was probably once part of his vast holdings of outstanding ceramics, which are said to have included more than the two ‘chicken cups’ sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 1980 and 1981. Many copies of doucai ‘chicken cups’ were made in the early Qing dynasty, with genuine Kangxi, Yongzheng ((1723-35) and Qianlong reign marks as well as with spurious Chenghua marks, with hall marks or without any mark. They vary considerably in the details of the decoration, but usually follow the early Ming prototype both in form and in the painting of the cocks with three long tail feathers. Compare two examples with Kangxi and Yongzheng reign marks illustrated together with one of the Ming originals from the Edward T. Chow collection, which they closely follow, in Cécile et Michel Beurdeley, La céramique chinoise, Fribourg, 1974, col. pls. 71 and 72. It was only in the Yongzheng period that the pattern underwent an updating and was redesigned, resulting in a free interpretation of the fifteenth-century model, see the cup also in the Meiyintang collection, illustrated in Krahl, op. cit., no. 1745, and pp. 218-19, figs. 19b and 20b, and sold in these rooms, 14th November 1989, lot 230.

  • HKGHong Kong SAR China
  • 2014-04-08
Hammer price
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* Note that the price doesn’t correlate with today’s value, but only relates to the actual end price at the time of the purchase.

Miscellaneous

This category offers the opportunity to find auctions with exciting and somewhat more unusual items. Such objects may include large household items such as bathtubs and old stoves, as well as taxidermy pieces, religious objects such as icons, and mixed lots containing miscellaneous objects. In the Miscellaneous category we gather the quirky and unique items available at auctions that may not obviously fit in under any of the other categories.

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