An exceptional copper-red 'lotus' bowl Hongwu
Lot 7
An exceptional copper-red 'lotus' bowl Hongwu
Sold for HK$ 5,420,000 (US$ 698,959) inc. premium
Lot Details
An exceptional copper-red 'lotus' bowl
Sturdily potted with rounded and slightly splayed sides rising from a short foot, the interior brilliantly painted in rich tones of underglaze-red with a chrysanthemum medallion, encircled by peony blossoms and thick leaves issuing from meandering vines, the exterior similarly decorated with evenly-spaced lotus blossoms and scrolls, all under broad keyfret rims. 21cm diam.


  • Provenance:
    George Eumorfopoulos collection (affixed label C.157)
    Sotheby's London, 30 May 1940, lot 274.
    Sotheby's Hong Kong, 16 November 1988, lot 114
    Sotheby's Hong Kong, 5 November 1996, lot 677
    Sotheby's London, 8 November 2006, lot 25

    Tokyo National Museum, Chinese Arts of the Sung and Yuan Periods, 1961, no.301

    Alongside Sir Percival David, George Aristides Eumorfopoulos (1863-1939) was amongst the most important collectors of Chinese Art in the early 20th century. He was the founder of the Oriental Ceramic Society in 1921, and served as president until his death in 1939.

    He was particularly interested in Ming dynasty ceramics which he considered underappreciated. He wrote in 1925, "In those days – the last decade of the nineteenth century – 'Oriental' meant Ch'ing porcelain, with just a few pieces of Ming thrown in. The Ming we knew then was a little blue and white and some of the coarser enamelled wares. Our knowledge of the more delicate enamelled Ming wares... is quite recent. It is only within the last few years that specimens have reached the West. So far as my own collection goes it will, I think, be found that the Ming period is adequately represented." The current lot represents one of his most prized Ming examples from the Hongwu period.

    Eumorfopoulos only purchased from trusted and reliable sources: a third of his collection, which is over one thousand five hundred pieces, was bought from F.M. Frank and Co., eighty-seven pieces from John Sparks Ltd., a hundred and thirty-eight pieces from Bluett and Sons and others from Yamanaka & Co. A significant part of his collection is now housed in the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Eight hundred pieces were also donated to the Benaki Museum in Athens, creating the first major Greek collection of Chinese art.

    A similar Hongwu period bowl from the Qing court collection, preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Ceramics Gallery of the Palace Museum. Part II, Beijing, 2010, p.280, pl.208 (fig.1). Another related bowl painted in underglaze-blue in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan Cang Mingchu Qinghuaci. Volume I, 2002, pp.16-17, no.3. It is interesting to note that the 1961 Tokyo National Museum exhibition Chinese Arts of the Sung and Yuan Periods (fig.2), dated the bowl to the Yuan dynasty rather than Hongwu period.

    明洪武 釉裏紅纏枝牡丹蓮紋碗


    從碗底所保留標籤可知該藏品來自著名的英國希臘裔收藏家尤氏(George Aristides Eumorfopoulos,1863-1939),並曾於1961年在東京國立博物館中國宋元瓷器展展出。尤氏是東方陶瓷學會創始人,是20世紀10至20年代收藏界最有影響力的核心人物。他的收藏規模和影響力與大維德爵士(Sir Percival David)齊名,以至於當時只要涉及中國藝術品的展覽或出版物,必有他的藏品。1925年以後,他陸續將自己的收藏品出版成册,俗稱「尤氏十一册」,因1936年恰逢金融危機,其圖冊出版量極少。尤氏曾在自己書中闡述:「十九世紀後半葉的西方東方藝術品收藏基本都以清瓷為主,因爲當時幾乎無人見過如此精美的明代釉裏紅瓷,直至近年(1920年前後)明代精品瓷才進入西方藏家視野,而在我嘔心瀝血的收藏過程中,至今所集的明代瓷器也已經很具有代表性了」。尤氏收藏後來大部分藏於大英博物館及維多利亞及阿爾伯特博物館,並另外將800多件中國瓷器捐給了故鄉希臘雅典的Benaki博物館,成為至今希臘最重要的中國藝術品收藏。

    北京故宮博物院藏一件清宮舊藏明洪武釉裏紅纏枝牡丹紋碗,其造型及紋飾佈局與本件拍品幾乎完全一致(圖一)。詳見故宮博物院編《故宮陶瓷館下編》圖版28,頁280。另外,此洪武碗在東京國立博物館1961年的展覽圖錄中,曾被錯定為元代 ,而非洪武(圖二)。

Saleroom notices

  • Please note additional provenance: Illustrated: Roy Davids & Dominic Jellinek, Provenance, Oxon, 2011, p.122, pl.37. Provenance: George Eumorfopoulos collection (affixed label C.157) Sotheby's London, 30 May 1940, lot 274. Bluett's, London Sold to Mrs Colin-Smith, 11 September 1941 Sotheby's London, 26 July 1960, lot 47 Bluett's, London John Figgess, London Sold through Bluett's in the early 1980s by Sir John Figgess to Jack Chia Offered for sale at Sotheby's Hong Kong, Jack Chia Collection, 5 November 1996 (unsold at estimate of HK$1,000,000-1,500,000) Sotheby's Hong Kong, 5 November 1996, lot 677 Sotheby's London, 8 November 2006, lot 25
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