A rare ormolu-mounted Kakiemon model of a seated bijin The figure Japanese, Edo Period, circa 1670-1680, the ormolu mount French, probably Transitional-Louis XVI, circa 1760-1770, the plaque Chinese Kangxi, early 18th century
Lot 192
A rare ormolu-mounted Kakiemon model of a seated bijin The figure Japanese, Edo Period, circa 1670-1680, the ormolu mount French, probably Transitional-Louis XVI, circa 1760-1770, the plaque Chinese Kangxi, early 18th century
Sold for £132,000 (US$ 211,866) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare ormolu-mounted Kakiemon model of a seated bijin The figure Japanese, Edo Period, circa 1670-1680, the ormolu mount French, probably Transitional-Louis XVI, circa 1760-1770, the plaque Chinese Kangxi, early 18th century A rare ormolu-mounted Kakiemon model of a seated bijin The figure Japanese, Edo Period, circa 1670-1680, the ormolu mount French, probably Transitional-Louis XVI, circa 1760-1770, the plaque Chinese Kangxi, early 18th century A rare ormolu-mounted Kakiemon model of a seated bijin The figure Japanese, Edo Period, circa 1670-1680, the ormolu mount French, probably Transitional-Louis XVI, circa 1760-1770, the plaque Chinese Kangxi, early 18th century A rare ormolu-mounted Kakiemon model of a seated bijin The figure Japanese, Edo Period, circa 1670-1680, the ormolu mount French, probably Transitional-Louis XVI, circa 1760-1770, the plaque Chinese Kangxi, early 18th century A rare ormolu-mounted Kakiemon model of a seated bijin The figure Japanese, Edo Period, circa 1670-1680, the ormolu mount French, probably Transitional-Louis XVI, circa 1760-1770, the plaque Chinese Kangxi, early 18th century
A rare ormolu-mounted Kakiemon model of a seated bijin
The figure Japanese, Edo Period, circa 1670-1680, the ormolu mount French, probably Transitional-Louis XVI, circa 1760-1770, the plaque Chinese Kangxi, early 18th century
The bijin decorated in iron-red, green, yellow, blue and black enamels and gilt, her outer kimono painted with floral heads, karakusa, ribbons and the wheel-of-the-law; her undergarments with stylised snowflakes and poem slips on a diaper ground, the stylised wood ground of the arm rest decorated in yellow and red; her black hair dressed in a central bun and adorned with a brass hairpin, her right hand clutching another brass hairpin; set on a trapezium-form ormolu mount, each side of which features a frolicking shishi within a lobed chased reserve, the front inserted with a Chinese porcelain plaque painted in famille-verte enamels with an identical shishi.
The figure 28.1cm (11in) high, the mount 14cm x 20cm x 16½cm (5½in x 7 7/8in x 6½in).

Footnotes

  • 柿右衛門 色絵婦人台付座像: 婦人座像 17世紀後期(1670-1680年頃)、 台 フランス・ルイ16世様式(1760-1770年頃)、 飾り陶板 中国・康煕年間(1662-1722年)

    Provenance: a European Noble Family, where it has remained for at least one hundred years. According to the family, this was acquired by their great, great grandfather, who was a notable ambassador to the Far East in the mid 19th century.

    Although other examples of this model are recorded, compared to the standing figures (such as lot numbers 187 and 191) very few of this seated model are known. An unusual ormolu-mounted example of a seated bijin, as presented here, is rarer still.

    The base is cast in five separate sections and assembled together. The distinctive features of the karashishi design on both the left and right side of the ormolu mount epitomises French Chinoiserie and were in all probability specifically made to imitate the same karashishi design painted on the central Chinese porcelain plaque, whilst the chequered design on the reverse and top of the mount as well as its unique trapeze-shape and curved back suggests that it was especially commissioned by a merchant to accommodate a three-dimensional piece - although perhaps not for this figure - since arguably, it is also quite plausible that the chequered top and reverse was added later to the base to accommodate the truncated segment of the bijin's skirt at the back; this is however conjecture.

    Interestingly, the combination and the ingenious adaptation of disparate elements to create a somewhat fanciful oriental ensemble was also characteristic of the 18th century and typical of the time - affording an insight into the French taste of aristocrats and wealthy bourgeois. Mounts of this type were often used in Europe to show off Chinese and Japanese porcelains, attesting to the esteem in which these wares were held.

    For a similarly-enamelled seated bijin with an identically-truncated section of garment at the reverse, see the example in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, illustrated by John Ayers, Oriental Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983, p.54.

    Compare with another mounted Kakiemon figure set on a chequered plinth, see D. F Lunsingh Scheurler, Chinesisches und japanisches Porzellan in europaischen Fassungen, p.356, Abb.359.

    Other examples of Japanese and Chinese porcelain figures set on 18th century French ormolu mounts can also be seen in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.

    For other seated but unmounted examples, see Soame Jenyns, Japanese Porcelain, pl. 63B (III). Another two in the the Victoria and Albert Museum, from the Collection of the late Sir Harry Garner, are published in the Oriental Ceramic Society Exhibition, Porcelain for Palaces: The Fashion for Japan in Europe, 1650-1750 (London, 1990), p.182, no.166 and previously exhibited in the Oriental Ceramic Society Exhibition, 1956, no.272 (see photograph) and illustrated by R.Soame Jenyns, Japanese Porcelain, London, 1965, pl.63G.

    A further example in the China Pavilion of the Swedish Royal Palace of Drottringholm is illustrated by Ake Setterwall, The Kina Pavilion, Fogelmarck, 1972, p.174.
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