A FINE PEACHBLOOM-GLAZED BRUSH WASHER
KANGXI MARK AND PERIOD
清康熙 豇豆紅釉鏜鑼洗 《大清康熙年製》款
delicately potted, the low rounded sides incurved at the mouth and supported on a short tapering foot, the exterior glazed in a vibrant crimson red mottled with darker flecks and a patch of pale beige to one side, thinning to pink around the foot, the interior, lip and recessed base white-glazed, the character wen inscribed in underglaze blue by the footrim and the base with a three-column six-character mark in underglaze blue
Diameter 4¾ in., 12.1 cm
Overall in good condition. The footring with minute scattered nicks and the surface with minor expected wear. A small burst glaze bubble at the rim.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
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Exhibition of Ancient Chinese Ceramics from the Collection of the Kau Chi Society of Chinese Art, Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1981, cat. no. 128.
Covered in a vibrant copper-red glaze flecked with attractive dark red and pale green mottles, this washer is particularly special for the additional character inscribed on the foot. Known by the descriptive term tangluo xi, this piece represents one of the most well-known forms among peachbloom wares, although examples with the character wen are rare. Wen signifies culture and education, and is therefore highly appropriate for this type of vessel.
The academic narrative regarding peachbloom wares has until recently been dominated by the influential essay by Ralph M. Chait, The Eight Prescribed Peachbloom Shapes bearing K’ang Hsi Marks, Oriental Art, vol. III, no. 4, Winter 1957, pp 130-137. Chait claimed that the peachbloom glaze was used only on vessels of eight ‘prescribed’ forms for the scholar’s desk. Known as ba da ma (Eight Great Numbers), Chait identifies in this set four flower vases, two small jars or waterpots, a brushwasher and a seal-paste box. However, leading scholars have recently questioned this interpretation, noting that the peachbloom group is repetitive therefore unlikely to have been conceived as a set. John Ayers, who discovered a ninth form, even questions whether peachbloom vessels were intended to be used at all and suggests that they were instead meant as precious gifts for members of the imperial court (John Ayers, ‘The ‘Peachbloom’ Wares of the Kangxi Period (1662-1722)’, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, 1999-2000, vol. 64, pp 31-50).
A washer of this type, also inscribed with the character wen by the foot rim, was included in the exhibition Chinese Porcelain from the 15th to the 18th Century, Eskenazi, London, 2006, cat. no. 8; another from the collection of Edward T. Chow, sold in our Hong Kong rooms 25th November 1980, lot 68, again in our London rooms, 17th November 1999, lot 784, and most recently in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th April 2009, lot 1657; a third was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 31st May 2010, lot 1864.
Tangluo xi lacking the wen character are more commonly known: a washer in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 140, pl. 123; two from the collection of Peter A.B. Widener, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., are published in Virginia Bower et al., The Collections of the National Gallery of Art. Systematic Catalogue: Decorative Arts, Part I, Washington, 1998, pp 72-3; one in the Baur Collection is illustrated in John Ayers, op. cit., pl. 15 (right); and a further example, from the Sir Percival David Collection and now in the British Museum, London, is included in Rosemary Scott, Illustrated Catalogue of Ming and Ch’ing Monochrome in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1989, no. B582.
Ralph M. Chait 所撰之文，〈The Eight Prescribed Peachbloom Shapes bearing K'ang Hsi Marks〉，《Oriental Art》，卷III（4），1957年冬，頁 130-137，對研究豇豆紅釉器影響深遠，曾一度處於學術主導。Chait 指出，豇豆紅器僅見於「八大碼」，其中四款屬瓶器、兩款小罐或水丞、一件洗及一件印泥盒。近年有著名學者對此說提出疑問，認為「八大碼」當中包括重複種類，故此燒製時已計劃成組之可能頗低。John Ayers 發現另一豇豆紅器型，並質疑豇豆紅器或非為實用，有可能專為賞賜宮廷成員而製（John Ayers，〈The ‘Peachbloom’ Wares of the Kangxi Period (1662-1722)〉，《Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society》，1999-2000年，卷64，頁 31-50）。
比較一相類例，亦帶「文」字款，曾展於《Chinese Porcelain from the 15th to the 18th Century》，埃斯卡納齊，倫敦，2006年，編號8；另一例出自仇焱之收藏，曾售於香港蘇富比1980年11月25日，編號68，再於倫敦蘇富比易手，1999年11月17日，編號784，後再售於香港蘇富比2009年4月8日，編號1657；再比一例，售於香港佳士2010年5月31日，編號1864。
無「文」字款之鏜鑼洗可比較多例，北京故宮博物院收藏一例，圖載於《故宮珍藏康雍乾瓷器圖錄》，香港，1989年，頁140，圖版123；兩例出自 Peter A.B. Widener 收藏，現存於華盛頓國家美術舘，載於Virginia Bower等，《The Collections of the National Gallery of Art. Systematic Catalogue: Decorative Arts》，卷1，華盛頓，1998年，頁72-3；再比一例，出自鮑氏收藏，圖載於 John Ayers，前述出處，圖版15（右）；再比一例，出自大維德爵士收藏，現存於英國大英博物館，曾展於蘇玫瑰，《Illustrated Catalogue of Ming and Ch'ing Monochrome in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art》，倫敦，1989年，B582。