Bluett & Sons, London, December 1936.
Collection of Reginald Howard Reed Palmer (1898-1970), no. 460.
Christie's Hong Kong, 17th January 1989, lot 569.
Christie's Hong Kong, 31st October 2000, lot 857.
Eskenazi Ltd., London.
Stem cups of this globular form, with an inward curved rather than flared rim, probably belong to the wide range of Yongle and Xuande porcelain shapes that derive their inspiration from Middle Eastern metalwork, and the petal borders above and below the waist of the stem seem to imitate gadrooning of the metal examples. Stem cups have a long tradition in Iran and were introduced to China prior to the Tang dynasty. Compare several Iranian stem cups of the 13th and 14th century, but without gadroons, in Assadullah Souren Melikian-Chirvani, Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World. 8th – 18th Centuries, London, 1982, p. 147, fig. 53, and cat.nos. 71, 72, 84 and 85.
The elegant carnation design was rarely used in the Ming dynasty, but is similarly found on blue-and-white tankards of Xuande mark and period, which equally follow a Middle Eastern form; for an example in Taiwan, see 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, cat. no. 12.
Fragments of a porcelain prototype in monochrome white, with a more accentuated, stepped foot, were recovered from the Yongle stratum of the imperial kilns site in Jingdezhen; see Imperial Porcelain of the Yongle and Xuande Periods Excavated from the Site of the Ming Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1989, cat. no. 12.
A similar stem cup in the British Museum, London, is published in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, no. 4: 21; one in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, 1980-82, vol. 10, no. 219; one from the Sir Percival David Collection in the British Museum, London, ibid., vol. 6, no. 90; one in the Capital Museum, Beijing, in Shoudu Bowuguan cang ci xuan [Selection of porcelains from the Capital Museum], Beijing, 1991, pl. 96; and one in the National Museum of China, Beijing, in Zhongguo Guojia Bowuguan guancang wenwu yanjiu congshu/Studies on the Collections of the National Museum of China. Ciqi juan [Porcelain section], Mingdai [Ming dynasty], Shanghai, 2007, pl. 34.
Stem cups of this form are also known with covers, all of them surprisingly poorly fitted to the opening of the cups; see two examples in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, in the exhibition catalogues Mingdai Xuande guanyao jinghua tezhan tulu, op. cit., cat. no. 8, and Ming Xuande ciqi tezhan mulu/Catalogue of a Special Exhibition of Hsuan-te Period Porcelain, Taipei, 1980, cat. no. 25; one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, from the Qing court collection, included in Geng Baochang, ed., Gugong Bowuyuan cang Ming chu qinghua ci [Early Ming blue-and-white porcelain in the Palace Museum], Beijing, 2002, vol. 2, pl. 105; another in the Shanghai Museum, see Lu Minghua, Shanghai Bowuguan zangpin yanjiu daxi/Studies of the Shanghai Museum Collections : A Series of Monographs. Mingdai guanyao ciqi [Ming imperial porcelain], Shanghai, 2007, pl. 3-29; or the example in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., published in Oriental Ceramics, op.cit., vol. 9, no. 101. A fragmentary blue-and-white stem cup and cover of this design were also excavated from the waste heaps of the Ming imperial kiln site at Zhushan, Jingdezhen, see Jingdezhen chutu Ming Xuande guanyao ciqi/Xuande Imperial Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1998, cat. no. 27.
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