A fine wucai 'month' cup Kangxi six-character mark and of the period
Lot 2
A fine wucai 'month' cup Kangxi six-character mark and of the period
Sold for HK$ 920,000 (US$ 118,667) inc. premium
Lot Details
A fine wucai 'month' cup
Kangxi six-character mark and of the period
Delicately potted and surmounted on a short foot, the steep sides rising towards a gently everted rim, the exterior intricately painted with an autumn scene featuring insects amongst yellow and red chrysanthemums issued from leafy stems and rockworks, the reverse inscribed with a ten-character Tang poem in 'kaishu', and a seal mark, the base inscribed in underglaze-blue with a six-character mark within double circles. 5cm diam.


  • Provenance:
    Collection of Iver Munthe Daae (1845-1924), Norwegian member of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service 1867-1888
    Sotheby's London, 13 July 2005, lot 253

    Iver Munthe Daae (1845-1924) was a Norwegian who served for over twenty years in the Chinese Maritime Customs Service. In 1868, he sailed for China and was appointed as a clerk working under Sir Robert Hart, Inspector General of Customs at that time. Intelligent and ambitious, he was swiftly promoted to Commissioner for several Chinese cities and Taiwan. Daae was one of the rare foreigners who were awarded the honorary title of Mandarin of the Third Degree by the Guangxu Emperor in 1878. In 1878-9, he became the Secretary in charge of the Inspectorate General, later holding the post of Inspector General from 1885-7. During his final days in China, Daae was influential in government politics and worked closely with the famous statesman Li Hongzhang. His distinguished reputation and long term friendship with China allowed him to amass a great collection of Chinese ceramics and works of art, before retiring and returning to Norway in 1907.

    The poem and reads:

    籬落歲雲暮,數枝聊自芳 Li luo sui yun mu, shu zhi liao zi fang
    雪裁纖蕊密,金拆小苞香 Xue cai xian xin mi, jin chai xiao bao xiang
    千載白衣酒,一生青女香(霜) Qian zai bai yi jiu, yi sheng qing nu xiang
    春叢莫輕薄,彼此有行藏 Chun cong mo qing bao, bi ci you xing cang

    The phrase translates as 'a thousand fills of wine drunk by the commoners, the fragrance lasts a lifetime'.

    The poem was written by Tang poet Luoyin titled 'Chrysanthemum' in 'Quantangshi', scroll 659/18. Luoyin metaphorically used 'baiyi' or 'white clothes' to represent commoners; 'qingnu' or 'green lady' is the legendary Goddess of Frost. In the current lot, the letter 'shuang' or 'frost' has been replaced by the letter 'xiang' or 'fragrance'. Some argue that this is possibly due to a misunderstanding whereby the scholar for the Imperial kilns misunderstood the original passage. The letters 'qianzai' or 'a thousand fills' have often been misunderstood as 'qiansui' or 'a thousand years', where in this case, the letters were unchanged.

    The current lot forms part of sets of five month cups formerly in the collection of Iver Munthe Daae, now in the Museum of Decorative Art and Design, Oslo. The set of five month cups was part of a group of two hundred and seven pieces from his collection purchased by the museum when he returned to Norway in 1888. The identical piece was also included in the exhibition Daae Samlingen in 1989.

    A complete set of Kangxi reign-marked 'wucai' month cups from the Qing court collection, preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours. The Complete Collection of the Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1999, p.152, no.140. Another complete set of Kangxi reign-marked 'wucai' month cups in the Percival David Foundation is illustrated in the Illustrated Catalogue of Qing Enamelled Wares in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1991, p.30, pl.815a-1. See also a complete set in the Shenyang Imperial Palace Museum, illustrated in Emperor Kangxi and the Sun King Louis XIV. Sino-Franco Encounters in Arts and Culture, Taipei, 2011, pp.106-107, no.IB-55.

    清康熙 五彩菊花詩文杯 「大清康熙年製」青花雙圈六字楷書款


    該花神杯曾爲挪威收藏家伊萬•蒙克•戴爾(Iver Munthe Daae)收藏,同屬於伊萬收藏的另外五個花神杯現存於挪威國立奧斯陸藝術館(Museum of Decorative Art and Design, Oslo),該館內還藏有伊萬1888年返回挪威時捐贈的中國藝術珍品共計207件。伊萬曾於1868年抵中國並在不同城市的海關任職,光緒四年被朝廷封官三品,後被加封為總督官職,任職期間與李鴻章等人關係密切。伊萬精通漢語,痴好中國古董收藏,直至1907年返回挪威時,已積累收藏上百件的中國藝術精品。

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