Lot 3401
  • 3401


650,000 - 750,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • 11.3 cm, 4 1/2  in.
the rounded sides supported on a short foot rising to a slightly everted rim, the exterior crisply moulded with four shou medallions interspersed with meandering lotus scrolls, all between key-fret borders encircling the mouth-rim and foot, the interior decorated in gilt with a central lotus medallion encircled by five further lotus sprays on a black lacquer ground, the naturally formed underside moulded with a four-character Kangxi shangwan reign mark ('Appreciated by the Kangxi Emperor'), the gourd of a warm honey-brown tone


Galerie Eymery, Paris, 15th April 1943.
Collection of Professor Robert de Strycker (1903-1968).

Catalogue Note

The humble origins of the gourd and its association with the symbolism of Daoist paradise made gourd objects highly appreciated by the Qing court and by the literati elite. A major period of development in the moulding of gourds started when the Kangxi Emperor commissioned gourd vessels to be made in the Palace Workshop which transformed this folk craft into an imperial art form. For a detailed discussion of the early history of moulded imperial gourds see Wang Shixiang, 'Moulded gourds', Gugong Bowuyuan yuankan, 1979, no. 1, pp. 86-91, translated by Craig Clunas in the Transactions of the Oriental Ceramics Society, no. 10, London, 1981, pp. 16-30. A closely related bowl with similar gilt-decorated interior and bearing a Kangxi shangwan ('Appreciated by the Kangxi Emperor') mark on its base, was sold in these rooms, 29th November 1978, lot 393, and again, 8th October 2010, lot 2185, from the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat Collection. See also two related bowls, but with black-lacquered interiors without gilt decorations, from the collection of Mary and George Bloch, sold in these rooms, 23rd October 2005, lots 76 and 128. Another bowl of the type, in the Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection, Seattle Art Museum, is illustrated in J. M. Addis, 'Impressed gourds', Oriental Art, vol. x, Spring 1964, p. 28, fig. 2. Compare also two Kangxi bowls but with cinnabar lacquered interiors sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th April 2002, lot 523, and 7th July 2003, lot 532.

The tradition of making such bowls continued in the 18th century with the Kangxi bowls serving as the blueprint for Qianlong period vessels; see three from the collection of Sir John Addis and now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, published in Craig Clunas, Chinese Carving, Singapore, 1996, one bearing the Qianlong shangwan ('Appreciated by the Qianlong Emperor') mark on the base, pl. 79; one with an identical mark but with an everted rim, pl. 80; and a third unmarked example attributed to the 18th century, pl. 82. A fourth example from the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat Collection bearing the Qianlong shangwan mark was sold in these rooms 8th October 2009, lot 1815.