In His Majesty’s Palm: Exquisite Imperial Porcelain from the Alan Chuang Collection

In His Majesty’s Palm: Exquisite Imperial Porcelain from the Alan Chuang Collection

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 58. A fine and exquisite doucai 'chicken' cup, Mark and period of Yongzheng | 清雍正 鬪彩雞缸盃 《大清雍正年製》款.

A fine and exquisite doucai 'chicken' cup, Mark and period of Yongzheng | 清雍正 鬪彩雞缸盃 《大清雍正年製》款

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April 8, 03:58 AM GMT


6,000,000 - 8,000,000 HKD

Lot Details


A fine and exquisite doucai 'chicken' cup,

Mark and period of Yongzheng

清雍正 鬪彩雞缸盃 《大清雍正年製》款

modelled after the Chenghua prototype, finely potted with rounded sides rising from a countersunk base to a gently flared rim, the exterior delicately outlined in underglaze blue and painted in doucai technique with two groups of chicken, one group with an aubergine hen turning back towards the cockerel with four yellow chicks around them, the other group with a cockerel pecking at the ground with tail raised, the yellow hen looking towards him with a chick sitting on her back, with four other chicks on the ground in front, two tugging at a worm, the cockerels exquisitely portrayed with combs and wattles in brilliant iron red and ruffled tails in shiny black, the groups separated by two ornamental rocks, one accentuated with red roses blooms and lush leaves, the other with a bamboo shoot and yellow daylilies, all between a double-line border around the rim and a single line around the base, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark within a double square

d. 8.1 cm

Sotheby's Hong Kong, 28th April 1998, lot 815.


Sotheby's. Thirty Years in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2003, pl. 184.

Julian Thompson, The Alan Chuang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, Hong Kong, 2009, pl. 52.



This exquisitely painted piece belongs to a group of Yongzheng cups that closely follows the shape of the famous Chenghua original but is painted with a free interpretation of the 15th-century design instead of a precise copy. Julian Thompson writes that this delicately painted redesign "is perhaps the most refined of all the many different versions of the chicken cup, combing brilliant colours with minute details in the underglaze blue paintings of the rocks and outlines of the chickens" (ibid., p. 146)

It is interesting to compare this cup with the Chenghua cup from the Edward T. Chow collection sold in these rooms, 25th November 1980, lot 31. A second example of a Chenghua 'chicken cup' was also sold in these rooms, 8th April 2014, lot 1, formerly in the Mrs Leopold Dreyfus and the Meiyintang collection. Although both have a cock, hen and chicks on each side divided by rocks and plants, the Yongzheng cocks are in different positions, with elaborate ruffled tail feathers instead of the three long feathers characteristic of the Chenghua birds, the clump of yellow orchids on one side of the original cup has been changed into bamboo, with a single small lily to one side, and the proportions of the roses and blue rocks on the other side has altered considerably.

The Chenghua cup from the Chow Collection is also illustrated by Cécile et Michel Beurdeley, La céramique chinoise, Fribourg, 1974, col. pls 71 and 72, together with cups from the same Collection with Kangxi and Yongzheng reign marks, also sold in these rooms, but these Qing cups follow the original very closely in the style of the painting and the position of the birds, with three long tail feathers, as well as in the outline of the cup and the arrangement of the reign marks in a double square.

The depiction of a cock and a hen with chicks in a garden setting was a design innovation of the Chenghua reign, although the subject was a well-known topic of Song dynasty painting. By the Yongzheng period, developments in enamel technology saw the invention of glossy black enamel that was added to the tails of the cocks to capture the richness of the birds as well as provide an attractive calligraphic contrast with the doucai palette. The black on Chenghua cups was actually a dark colour derived by adding khaki-green enamel to underglaze blue. In contrast, the black enamel developed in the Kangxi period was matt and relatively unstable, so it required a layer of clear pale green or purple to be applied over the top.

Yongzheng chicken cups of this composition withone cock bending down with its tail in the air, and the eight chicks spaced evenly around the surface include one from the collection of Mrs Walter C. Sedgwick, featured in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibitions Enamelled Polychrome of the Manchu Dynasty, London, 1951, cat. no. 100, and Arts of the Ch'ing Dynasty, London, 1964, cat. no. 194, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 4, pt. II, London, 2010, pl. 1745, sold in these rooms, 14th November 1989, lot 230; and a pair included in the Min Chiu Society Thirtieth Anniversary exhibition Selected Treasures of Chinese Art, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1990, cat. no. 165, sold in these rooms, 27th April 1993, lot 182, and again, 8th April 2014, lot 3109. Further cups of this type include one sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th April 2002, lot 562, and again in these rooms, 2nd May 2005, lot 608; another sold in these rooms, 15th May 1990, lot 284, and again at Christie's Hong Kong, 27th May 2009, lot 1822; and a further single cup sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 3rd June 2015, lot 3144.


對比成化雞缸盃例,饒有趣味。參考仇焱之舊藏,售於香港蘇富比1980年11月25日,編號31,或玫茵堂舊藏成化雞缸盃,曾為 Leopold Dreyfus 夫人寶蓄,2014年4月8日在香港蘇富比拍出,編號1。縱然悉繪子母雞圖,畫公雞偕母率幼雛覓食,園中且有花葉秀石,但雍正盃上雄雞位置有別,尾毛蓬鬆而非如成化典型分成三簇,黃彩萱草叢改畫竹,伴以萱花一朵,另一面月桂秀石之佈局也異於前。

仇焱之藏成化例,圖刊於 Cécile et Michel Beurdeley,《La céramique chinoise》,弗里堡,1974年,彩圖71及72,同書並錄仇氏藏康熙、雍正款例,後皆售於蘇富比,但其清朝例子,臨摹成窰雞缸細緻逼真,沿襲昔時器形、畫風、佈局、雙方框款,有別於此盃,便是公雞尾巴也同飾羽毛三簇。


與此雍正雞缸盃同類之品忠於成化器形,然畫風更細膩,公雞尾部高翹,八隻小雞分散而行,花草秀石佈局比例也異於成化雛型。同類雍正盃,Sedgwick 夫人典藏有存,曾見於東方陶瓷學會展覽《The Arts of the Ch'ing Dynasty》,倫敦,1964年,編號194,又載錄於康蕊君,《玫茵堂藏中國陶瓷》,卷4,倫敦,2010年,圖版1745,後售於香港蘇富比1989年11月14日,編號230。一對曾展於敏求三十週年紀念展《歷代文物萃珍》,香港藝術館,香港,1990年,圖版165,後售香港蘇富比1993年4月27日,編號182,再售於香港蘇富比2014年4月8日,編號3109。藝術市場上尚有數例雍正雞缸盃,如香港佳士得2002年4月29日拍出一盃,編號562,後又在2005年5月2日經香港蘇富比易手,編號608。1990年5月15日在香港蘇富比拍出之例(編號284),則在香港佳士得2009年5月27日再度售出,編號1822。香港佳士得2015年6月3日且售一例,編號3144。