An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar Chenghua six-character mark and of the period

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Lot 203
An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar
Chenghua six-character mark and of the period

Sold for £ 440,500 (US$ 567,415) inc. premium
The Property of a Gentleman 士紳藏品
An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar
Chenghua six-character mark and of the period
The creamy white body finely painted in a soft underglaze blue with delicate outlines and enamelled in rich iron-red, soft yellow, and vibrant green with an elegantly arranged profusion of variously opening lotus flowers and spreading and crinkling leaves alternating between the upper and lower registers and the flowers alternating between iron-red petals with yellow seed pods or central petals and yellow outer petals and iron-red centres, all emerging from regularly rounded waves crested with foam, the masterful design further highlighted by two small butterflies in flight and bordered by fine lines of underglaze blue and iron-red enamel at the foot and neck. 17cm (6 3/4in) diam.

Footnotes

  • 明成化 鬥彩蓮塘紋罐 青花「大明成化年製」楷書款

    Provenance: John Walter Richardson (d.1951), Becton House, Barton-on-Sea, by repute
    A European private collection since 1964.

    來源: 傳為英國巴頓約翰•華特•李察臣(John Walter Richardson)先生(d.1951)收藏
    歐洲私人收藏,蒐自1964年

    According to the present owner the jar was acquired by him at Riddett & Adams Smith, Auctioneers, The Auction Rooms, Richmond Hill, Bournemouth Square, in 1964. It was offered as part of the 'Collection of the Late J.W.Richardson, of Pekin; formed mostly at the turn of the century and removed for convenience of sale from Becton House, Barton-on-Sea' (Catalogue of Furniture, 4th, 5th and 6th February 1964).

    Regretfully given the brief and non-specialist nature of the 1964 cataloguing descriptions, it has not been possible to identify which lot in the 1964 sale is the present lot. A copy of the 1964 catalogue is available for consultation.

    Illustrated 著錄:
    The Connoisseur: Complete Encyclopedia of Antiques, London, 1975, p.420
    Encyclopedia of Antiques, London, 1976, p.13
    R.Krahl, Liu Xinyuan, Ts'ai Ho-pi and J.Thompson, The Emperor's broken china: Reconstructing Chenghua porcelain, London, 1995, p.109
    Sotheby's Hong Kong, 29 April 1997, lot 407 (illustrated as a related example to lot 407, a blue and white 'lotus pond' jar, Chenghua mark and period)

    John Walter Richardson (d.1951) of Becton House, Barton-on-Sea, was an officer in the Chinese Customs Department, Beijing. He was awarded the Peking Siege Commemoration Medal 1900 for his efforts in defending the European Legations during the Boxer Rebellion. His collection, according to the 1964 catalogue, was formed mostly at the turn of the 20th century. The rarity of the jar and defined imperial quality would strongly indicate that it was part of the imperial collection although the time and circumstances under which it left the imperial collection are unknown, nor is it known at what date prior to 1951 did Richardson acquire the jar.

    Importantly this provenance confirms that this extraordinarily rare doucai jar of the celebrated Chenghua period has been handed down from generation to generation since the Chenghua period and that it was not unearthed during the excavations at Zushan in 1987. Indeed it has been calculated that extant pieces of intact Chenghua porcelain amount to under six hundred (see The Emperor's Broken China: Reconstructing Chenghua Porcelain, London, 1995, p.12.).

    Chenghua period porcelain was much admired and prized since early periods. Shen Defu (1578-1642) notes in Wanli Ye Huo Bian: 'This reign's ceramic wares with the blue decoration on a white ground filled in with the five colours, are the crown of the past and the present. Xuande wares were the most expensive but today Chenghua wares have also become expensive, surpassing those of Xuande, Both periods have been endowed by heaven and give attention to the small arts; they display such fine workmanship!' (see Wanli Ye Huo Bian, Zhonghua Shuju, 1980, juan 26).

    The present lot represents the only known polychrome version of this 'lotus pond' design on a jar. It was first published by Julian Thompson in 'Towards a Catalogue Raisonné of Chenghua porcelain', The Emperor's Broken China, ibid., pp.109-110, fig.2, where it is illustrated from three different sides. He noted it 'is of exceptional brilliance', further commenting that 'this doucai pattern seems to be unique in having a blue and white equivalent'.

    Three blue and white 'lotus pond' jars, Chenghua six-character marks and of the period, have been published and illustrated:

    1. Sir H.Garner, Oriental Blue & White, London, 1970, pp.12-13, col.pl.C; Chinese Ceramics: One Hundred Selected Masterpieces from Collections in Japan, England, France and America, Takashimaya Department Store, Tokyo, 1960, no.90; further published in Mayuyama Seventy Years, vol.1, Tokyo, 1976, p.264, pl.791; and also in Sekai tōji zenshū/ Ceramic Art of the World: Ming Dynasty,vol.14, Tokyo, 1976, p.255, fig.112; possibly the same jar illustrated from the opposite side in Tokubetsuten Chugoku toki bi o miru kokoro/ Chinese Ceramics, Enlightening through Beauty, Tokyo, 2006, pl.46.

    2. Sekai tōji zenshū/ Ceramic Art of the World: Ming Dynasty, vol.14, Tokyo, 1976, p.170, pl.165 and p.189, fig.46; sold at Christie's London 9 June 1975, lot 76; illustrated by A. du Boulay, Christie's Pictorial History of Chinese Ceramics, Oxford, 1984, p.126, fig.1; sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong on 29 April 1997, lot 407;

    3. From the Au Bak Ling Collection, illustrated by J.Thompson, 'Chenghua Porcelain in the Au Bak Ling Collection', Chinese Ceramics: Selected Articles from Orientations 1982-1998, Hong Kong, 1999, p.391, fig.2; sold at Sotheby's London, 15 July 1980, lot 109.

    For a similar 'lotus pond' design on other Chenghua mark and period pieces see: a blue and white cup from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Ch'eng-hua Porcelain Ware, 1465-1487, Taipei, pl.56; another similar cup from the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (II), Hong Kong, 2000, pl.39; and compare also another cup illustrated in A Legacy of Chenghua: Imperial Porcelain of the Changhua Reign Excavated from Zhushan, Jingdezhen, Hong Kong, 1993, pl.C56. See also a blue and white stembowl, illustrated by J.Ayers, Chinese Ceramics: The Koger Collection, London, 1985, pl.52 and another but in underglaze blue and red, Chenghua, decorated with fish in a lotus pond, from the Au Bak Ling collection (also sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong on 14 November 1983, lot 125) and illustrated by J.Thompson, 'Chenghua Porcelain in the Au Bak Ling Collection', Chinese Ceramics: Selected Articles from Orientations 1982-1998, Hong Kong, 1999, p.395, fig.12.

    The form of the Chenghua jar follows that of those made during the Yongle period. See for example a white-glazed anhua-decorated jar, Yongle, from the J.M.Hu Family collection, sold at Sotheby's New York on 4 June 1985, lot 1. In the Chenghua period, the form of the present lot may also be compared to that of doucai jars decorated with floral sprays amidst rockwork, Chenghua mark and period, such as the one from the Percival David Collection, British Museum, illustrated in Imperial Taste: Chinese Ceramics from the Percival David Foundation, San Francisco, 1989, pl.41 (PDF 797) and another in the Palace Museum, Beijing, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, Hong Kong, 1999, pl.167.

    The importance of Chenghua wares in later periods, and particularly the doucai decorative scheme, is further evident in wares imitating those of the Chenghua period productions, dating from the Jiajing reign in the Ming dynasty onwards and in particular from the 18th century during the Qing dynasty. The Palace Museum, Beijing, contains two related 'floral spray and rockwork' doucai jars and covers, with Chenghua marks but dated to the Kangxi and Yongzheng periods respectively, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, Hong Kong, 1999, pls.211 and 232.

    The decoration on the present jar demonstrates the exceptionally refined and naturalistic painting in underglaze blue typical of the finest wares of the Chenghua period, colourfully filled over the glaze with iron-red, green and yellow enamels, with the spacious composition allowing the appreciation of the unctuous white glaze.


    We would like to thank Ayako Mayuyama of Mayuyama & Co., Ltd, George Lee of Daijindo Gallery, Robin Markbreiter of Arts of Asia, and Yifawn Lee of Orientations for their assistance with research for this footnote and their kind permission to reproduce images.


    據現藏家所述,此罐來自北京故李察臣先生珍藏,並於1964年購自Riddett & Adams Smith拍賣行。此前此器一直藏於英國巴頓李氏大宅中,並刊於該公司1964年2月4至6日拍賣圖錄當中。然而,鑑於1964年圖錄中並未對所有拍品作出詳盡及專業之描繪論述,因而並未能確實識別該器之編號。本部門獲此圖錄之副本,則可供各方藏家詳細參閱研究。

    約翰•華特•李察臣(John Walter Richardson) (1951年薨) 生前供職於大清海關。1900年庚子拳亂,李翁保護西方公使人員有功,獲頒紀念獎章。根據1964年圖錄所刊,其藏品大多得於十九世紀末、二十世紀初之時。而以此尊成化鬥彩罐之珍罕程度與其燒製質量而言,應屬宮廷珍品。惜其流落民間之過程,以至李翁覓得此罐之先後時序皆不得而知,亦無從稽考。

    然而,上述來源資料已充分證明此尊鬥彩蓮塘紋罐由成化年間一直代代相傳至今,而並非於1987年珠山考古發掘過程中出土。事實上,根據學者研究統計,存世完整之成化瓷器不到六百件,詳見The Emperor's Broken China: Reconstructing Chenghua Porcelain, 倫敦, 1995年, 頁12。

    成化瓷器於歷朝歷代均深獲官賈文人所鍾愛,廣受推崇。萬曆一朝舉人沈德符(1578-1642)著書《萬曆野獲編》,卷二十六論瓷器一段則謂:「本朝瓷器,用白地青花,間裝五色,為古今之冠。如宣窯品最貴。近日又貴成窯,出宣窯之上。蓋兩朝天縱,留意曲藝,宜其精工如此。」,足見成化瓷器早於萬曆年間已備受推崇,尤甚於宣德一朝製瓷。

    此次推出此尊鬥彩罐為已知存世唯一施彩作蓮塘紋飾之成化瓷罐,首次刊於朱湯生所著文章 'Towards a Catalogue Raisonné of Chenghua porcelain', 載於The Emperor's Broken China, ibid., 頁109-110, 圖2。文中筆者評鑑此器「出類拔萃」、「其鬥彩紋飾獨一無二,能與之相比的例子或只有施青花紋飾之瓷罐」。

    存世三尊帶款成化青花蓮塘紋罐均經出版著錄:

    1. 其一載於《中國名陶百選》,東京,1960年,第90號;《龍泉集芳》第一集,東京,1976年,頁264,圖791;以及《世界陶磁全集第十四冊:明》, 東京, 1976年, 頁255, 圖112;另一書籍所錄中亦可能為同一瓷罐,並刊於《特別展中國陶器》一書, 東京,2006年,圖46。

    2. 《世界陶磁全集》第十四冊:明,東京,1976年,頁170圖165及頁189圖46所刊一例。此罐曾於1975年6月9日倫敦佳士得拍賣,拍品76號,並著錄於A. du Boulay著Christie's Pictorial History of Chinese Ceramics,牛津,1984年,頁126,圖1。此器後於1997年4月29日香港蘇富比拍賣,拍品407號。

    3. 歐柏齡先生亦藏有一例,並見於"Chenghua Porcelain in the Au Bak Ling Collection", Chinese Ceramics: Selected Articles from Orientations 1982-1998, 香港, 1999年, 頁391, 圖2。此罐後於1980年7月15日倫敦蘇富比拍賣,拍品109。

    臺北國立故宮博物院藏有一件成化帶款青花杯,與此器同樣施蓮塘紋飾,詳見《成化瓷器特展圖錄》,臺北,圖56;另一相似例子則為清宮舊藏,詳見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:青花釉裡紅(中)》,香港,2000年,圖39。另亦可比對一相似瓷杯,載於《成窯遺珎:景德鎮珠山出土成化官窯瓷器》,香港,1993年, 圖C56。而另一青花高足碗亦施以相似紋飾,見於J.Ayers著 Chinese Ceramics: The Koger Collection,倫敦,1985年,圖52;以及由歐柏齡先生所藏一青花釉裡紅高足碗,飾以蓮塘游魚之例子則載於朱湯生著 "Chenghua Porcelain in the Au Bak Ling Collection", Chinese Ceramics: Selected Articles from Orientations 1982-1998,香港,1999年,頁395,圖12。

    眼前此尊成化鬥彩瓷罐仿傚永樂一朝之形制,例如胡惠春家族珍藏之永樂白釉暗花罐;此器後於1985年6月4日紐約蘇富比拍賣,拍品1號。成化年間所製鬥彩花蝶紋罐之形制亦與此器相仿。其中一例為大衛德爵士藏品,現展於大英博物館,並載於Imperial Taste: Chinese Ceramics from the Percival David Foundation, 三藩市, 1989年, 圖41 (PDF 797) ;及另一由北京故宮博物院所藏例子,則詳見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:五彩•鬥彩》,香港,1999年,圖167。

    成窯所創之瓷器風格對後世影響深遠。嘉靖一朝以降之鬥彩瓷大多模仿成化紋樣制式,其風氣尤以清十八世紀為甚。詳見北京故宮博物院所藏兩器,分別為清康熙以及清雍正年間所製之鬥彩花蝶紋蓋罐,載於《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:五彩•鬥彩》,香港,1999年,圖211及232。

    此次拍賣推出之成化鬥彩蓮塘紋罐,利用青花勾畫輪廓,以釉色填充點綴;紋飾線條流暢,圖案描繪細膩;留白空間與之相輝相映,恰到好處,頗具文人畫之淡雅意境。此罐精顯成化一朝瓷匠之精湛技藝,盼籍此機會供各方藏家鑑賞。

    本部門謹此向繭山龍泉堂繭山綾子小姐、Daijindo Gallery之George Lee先生、Arts of Asia雜誌社Robin Markbreiter先生、以及Orientations雜誌社Yifawn Lee小姐致謝,為諸位於資料蒐集以及提供圖片方面所提供之協助,深表感激。
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An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar Chenghua six-character mark and of the period
An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar Chenghua six-character mark and of the period
An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar Chenghua six-character mark and of the period
An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar Chenghua six-character mark and of the period
An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar Chenghua six-character mark and of the period
An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar Chenghua six-character mark and of the period
An extremely rare and important doucai 'lotus pond' jar Chenghua six-character mark and of the period
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