Important Chinese Art
Important Chinese Art
The Legacy of Cixi. Late Qing Porcelain from the Barbara Jean Levy Collection
September 20, 05:51 PM GMT
60,000 - 80,000 USD
A massive blue-ground green-enameled 'Chuxiugong' 'dragon' charger
Qing dynasty, Guangxu period, circa 1889
清光緒 約1889年 青花地綠彩雲龍趕珠紋大盤 《儲秀宮製》款
the base with a four-character Chuxiugong zhi seal mark in underglaze blue
Diameter 27⅞ in., 70.7 cm
Christie's London, 16th April 1980, lot 91.
Sotheby's London, 16th April 1996, lot 423.
Collection of Ronald W. Longsdorf.
Ronald W. Longsdorf 收藏
The Chuxiugong (Palace of Gathering Elegance) is one of the six Western palaces in the Forbidden City, favored by the Empress Dowager Cixi and her chief residence between 1856 and 1885. Ronald W. Longsdorf in 'The Tongzhi Imperial Wedding Porcelain', Orientations, October 1996, p. 70, notes that Cixi had the palace refurbished on her 50th birthday in 1884, with luxurious objects of monumental size, many modeled after prototypes from the 18th century.
Porcelains with Chuxiugong zhi marks were likely commissioned to commemorate this significant palace. Research also suggests that pieces with this mark were intended as imperial gifts, instead of daily use (Chen Kelun, 'Huafan jinse yongqing Changchun. Cixi he tade yuyong ciqi [Flourishing blossoms and splendid colors. Cixi and her imperial porcelain]', Forbidden City, September 2019, p. 134). The large-sized dishes with dragon decorations and marked with the name of Cixi's residential palace not only symbolize the grandeur and authority of the imperial throne, but also her significant influence within the court.
Painted with dragons in pursuit of flaming pearls in green enamel against an underglaze-blue ground, the present charger is faithfully based on Kangxi period designs. Compare a Kangxi mark and period 'dragon' dish in the Baur Collection, illustrated in John Ayers, The Baur Collection. Chinese Ceramics, vol. IV, Geneva, 1974, pl. A555.
Measuring over 70 cm in diameter, the present charger ranks amongst the larger known examples of chargers bearing Chuxiugong marks. Compare a closely related example in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Chen Kelun, op. cit., p. 134; another was sold in our Paris rooms, 18th December 2012, lot 146. Compare two smaller examples of the same design, each measuring around 48cm in diameter: the first sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 31st October - 1st November 1974, lot 295; the second sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th April 1996, lot 782. For a smaller type, measuring 32 cm in diameter, see one from the Kwan Collection, included in the exhibition The Splendour of Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1992, cat. no. 143, and sold at Christie's Singapore, 30th March 1997, lot 345.