An exceptionally rare cloisonné enamel cup stand Incised and blue-enamelled Xuande six-character mark and of the period

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Lot 128
An exceptionally rare cloisonné enamel cup stand
Incised and blue-enamelled Xuande six-character mark and of the period

Sold for £ 56,250 (US$ 70,077) inc. premium
An exceptionally rare cloisonné enamel cup stand
Incised and blue-enamelled Xuande six-character mark and of the period
The interior with a domed countersunk central boss finely enamelled with a solitary lotus flowerhead, encircled by lappets on the sloping flange, the well with scattered florets borne on leafy scrolls, all in blue, yellow, red, green and white enamel against a turquoise ground, retaining some gilding and with the four pins visible on the underside used to secure the applied central boss above, the incised mark on the base infilled with blue enamel.
19.3cm (7 5/8in) diam.

Footnotes

  • 明宣德 銅胎掐絲琺瑯番蓮紋盞托
    「大明宣德年製」楷書刻款

    Provenance: an English private collection and thence by descent

    來源: 英國私人收藏,並由後人保存迄今

    The present lot represents one of the rarest and amongst the earliest cloisonné enamel wares made for the Imperial court during the early Ming dynasty. Other than the present lot, only seven other Xuande mark and period cloisonné enamel and gilt-bronze cup stands appear to have been published. These are all of similar form and size with certain variations in the decorative registers and marks.

    The small number of extant examples indicate that very few were produced; however, these were made using three different types of Xuande marks: the double-outlined incised six-character mark of which three examples are known (see the Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels, 1, Beijing, 2010, pp.138-139; the one in the Museum Rietberg, Zurich, H.Brinker and A.Lutz, Chinese Cloisonné: The Pierre Uldry Collection, London, 1989, pls.23a and 23; and the third which was sold at Sotheby's London on 7 November 2012, lot 433); the cast gilt-bronze four-character mark of which one example is known (see the Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels, 1, Beijing, 2010, pp.138-139); and the incised and blue-enamelled encircled six-character mark (as on the present lot), of which three other examples appear to have been published: the Sir Harry and Lady Garner example in the British Museum, is illustrated by H.Garner, Chinese and Japanese Cloisonné Enamels, London, 1962, pls.B and 95a; the second from the McLaren Collection, was sold at Sotheby's London, 16 June 1999, lot 704 and was also illustrated by G.Eskenazi and H.Elias, A Dealer's Hand: The Chinese Art World through the Eyes of Giuseppe Eskenazi, London, 2012, p.242, pl.174; and the third example of this type was sold at Phillips London, 9 June 2000, lot 234.

    Sir Harry Garner, Chinese and Japanese Cloisonné Enamels, London, 1962, pp.53-54, wrote that 'the cloisonne dish [cup stand] has a six-character Hsuan-te mark incised on the base, the incision being filled in with dark blue enamel. The presence of the enamel makes it certain that the mark is contemporary with the piece.'

    Furthermore, images of incised and blue-enamelled cup stands all show the same structural characteristic of the four pins visible at the base around the mark securing the upper boss to the dish.

    However, even within the ten-year reign of the Xuande emperor, the quality of the enamels could vary significantly; see for example a cloisonné enamel stem cup, early Ming dynasty, illustrated in the Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels, 1, Beijing, 2010, p.120, which shows a similar floral design to that found on the present lot.
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An exceptionally rare cloisonné enamel cup stand Incised and blue-enamelled Xuande six-character mark and of the period
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