Antique Chinese Porcelain Co.

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Objects "Antique Chinese Porcelain Co."

Transitional Wucai Gu-Shaped Beaker Vase

This cylindrical vase with its elevated central section, bevelled foot and trumpet shaped neck, is modelled on an antique bronze vessel known as a Gu. The decoration is divided into three sections and combines under glaze blue with over glaze enamels of green, iron-red, yellow and aubergine. The vase is made of levigated clay and a number of pinholes are clearly visible around the inside of the rim. The thick glaze gives the vase a slightly green tinge and a cracked ice-border encircles the rim of the neck. The scene on the upper section of the vase depicts a young women and older man of noble lineage. It is interesting that the painting clearly displays the man with his left arm around the shoulders of the younger woman and it is quite possible that this may be an episode from the tragedy of Yang Guifei (719-756), who was the favourte concubine of the Tang emperor Ming Hueng (685-762). To the left of the couple and kneeling in front, is a maiden baring a jue - she too is probably of noble heritage as she is also accompanied by an attendant, who holds over her a single tiered yellow canopy. An all female five-piece musical ensemble stands to the right of the couple - the instruments include a drum, flute, clappers, cymbals and two rows of small bells on a stick. Musical instruments were considered to symbolize matrimonial harmony and the mutual affection existing between a man and his wife. Related depictions of women playing musical instruments appear in the Wanli addition of the " Pipaji - The Story of the Lute" - an opera story by Gau Ming (1305-70). It is therfore also possible that the painter may have used a woodcut illustration relating to the same story for the decoration on this vase. The central section of the vase shows three blooming chrysanthemums in iron-red and yellow along with two branches of peonies also in iron-red. The lower section is painted with two branches with blue and green leaves, one with three peaches and the other with three pomegranates, also in iron-red, turquoise and yellow. Height: 53 cm Shunzhi/Early Kangxi (1655-1665) PROVENANCE From an English Private Collection - last with Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers, November 2004. CONDITION The upper section of the vase has a number of well restored cracks originating from the rim. RELATED EXAMPLE For a baluster vase with a similar scene see " The Wrestling Boys: An exhibition of Chinese and Japanese ceramics from the 16th to the 18th century in the collection at Burghley House" by G Lang, No 162. Price: £ 3,000 Weight: 4.7 KgRead more

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Large Kangxi Famille Verte Dish

The central medallion is vigorously decorated with a large scaly dragon facing a long-tailed phoenix - both surrounded by stylised ruyi-shaped clouds and red flames. The rim is decorated with panels of auspicious animals - qilin, xiezhi, baize, winged deer - alternating with panels of flowers - peonies, lotus and chrysanthemum. In the centre of the glazed base - within a double circle - is a lozenge embellished with ribbons indicative of magic powers - one of the "Eight Precious Things". This is thought to have once been an ancient headress symbolising victory or success. It seems probable that the creature with the doglike head and body, paws and tail of a Buddhist lion is a xiezhi. This was considered to be an extremely fierce animal with the ability to distinquish between good and evil. In the same way the baize, with the head of a dragon, two horns and the body of a lion is distinct from the qilin, in that its scales only appear on the shoulders and flanks as opposed to its entire body. A dragon together with a phoenix is indicative of a conjugal pairing and is still popular as a wedding motif. In the pairing, the dragon represents the yang force and the phoenix the ying - a representation often used for the emperor and empress. Diameter: 37 cm Kangxi (1662-1722) CONDITION The enamels are luminescent with no rubbing. Two v-shaped pieces from the rim have been reintroduced at the 11 o'clock position above the phoenix. There are two sealed hairline cracks originating from the rim - positioned to the right of the dragon. RELATED EXAMPLE An identical dish is illustrated by Eva Strober in "Symbols on Chinese Porcelain", Page 63,No 18. Price: £ 3,500 Weight: 1.5 KgRead more

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Blanc-de-Chine Teapot and Cover

The body of this pomegranate-shaped teapot has been moulded in two halves and then combined - resulting in a luting line running horizontally around the middle of the body. The handle and lid have been modelled separately as a branch and leaf - beginning at the handle, continuing onto the body and then connecting at the lid. The foot is in the shape of a six-pointed star. These pomegranate-shaped teapots were produced in Dehua for domestic and export use during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries - indeed Augustus the Strong was reputed to have owned several. In Europe, where such items were scarce and costly, replacements were diffficult to obtain. As a result some teapot lids would be securely attached with link chains or solid mounts. The form was copied in soft paste porcelain in France at Saint Cloud. Bottger also made a similar form in hard paste porcelain in Meissen around 1710-12. Height: 12 cm Last Quarter 17th Century CONDITION There is a luting line to the body of the teapot - in line with the narrative above. There are a number small chips to the tips of the leaf that make up the lid. RELATED EXAMPLES Identical examples are illustrated in both "Treasures of Chinese Export Ceramics from the Peabody Essex Museum", by William R. Sargent, Page 206, Item 98 and " Blanc de Chine: The Great Porcelain of Dehua" by Robert H. Blumenfield, Page 51, Plate B. Price: £ 3,000 Weight: 0.3 KgRead more

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Kangxi Blue and White Ginger Jar

In brilliant tones of underglaze cobalt blue this ovoid jar is decorated with three "mythical beasts". Each stands on a jagged rock protruding from foaming waves with stylised "flames" emanating from its body, emphasizing its magical abilities. A double line border encircles the short neck, which has been left in the biscuit. The recessed base, with its undercut foot rim, shows a double circle in underglaze blue. Whilst on intial inspection it would be easy to identify the "mythical beast" as a kylin, it is important to remember that it is often confused with the baize - the "Beast of the White Marsh". This mythical animal had the head of a dragon, two horns and the body of a lion, but as like here, with scales only appearing on its shoulders and flanks. This was in contrast to the kylin whose entire body was covered in scales. The kylin also had hooves - whereas here the beast displays claws - once again a characteristic of the baize. This mysterious creature, according to Tang Dynasty mythology, taught Huangdi - The Yellow Emperor (2697-2597 BC) - about the dangerous and malevolent beings inhabiting the world: "Huangdi went on a tour of inspection. In the east he reached the sea and ascended Mount Hang in Hunan Province. At the seashore he encounted "The White Marsh", a divine beast, who could speak in human language and who had extensive knowledge of the nature of all creatures". Mountains were considered especially auspicious when combined with water - referred to as an auspicious blessing - "longevity and good fortune as unlimited as that of the oceans and mountains". Mountains were also generally depicted with three peaks, indicating "The Isles of the Immortals". The Eight Immortals resided in a paradise known as the "Isles of the Blest" in pavillions of silver and gold. This paradise was considered to consist of three or more mountains isolated in the Eastern Sea - Fangzhang, Penlai and Yingzhou - sometimes known collectively as Penglai. Before they became partly ornamental it is thought that these jars were used to store root ginger, which in the eighteenth century was considered to have stimulative digestive properties. Height: 22 cm Kangxi (1662-1722) PROVENANCE From an Englsh Private Collection - last with Geoffrey Waters Oriental Ceramics and Works of Art, London, March 2000. CONDITION There is a short well restoredl hairline crack to the body of the vase. RELATED EXAMPLES A baluster vase with a similar decoration is illustrated in the Avery Bundage Collection: ID:B60P83 A Yen Yen vase with a similar decoration is illustrated in "Chinese Blue & White Porcelain from the Pullan Collection", Page 39, No. 50. Price: £ 5,000 Weight: 2.1 KgRead more

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Japanese Kakiemon Vase

This rare oviform vase is strikingly decorated with a continuous river scene - occupying almost the entire surface of its body. The landscape is sketchy - with limited indications of a rocky promontory, a boat and pavillion - in thick enamels of red, blue, turquoise and yellow. The neck, shoulder and lower portion of the jar is of an uncomplicated design - limited to simple lines and bands of colour. The handling of the enamels is carefully composed for effect and it is this treatment that is thought to place the vase amongst the earliest decorated in over glaze enamels. Vases with these enamel colours, referred to as the "early enamel groups", form part of the first polychrome export goods manufactured in Arita. They are decorated in a wide variety of motifs and representations and the way in which they are divided into panels, as well as landscape elements, make them redolent of Chinese examples. Height: 23 cm Date: 1660-1670 CONDITION There is a small chip to the inside of the rim and an area of glaze crackle on one side of the body. RELATED EXAMPLES An identical example is illustrated in " City Art Museum of Saint Louis: 200 Years of Japanese Porcelain", by Richard S. Cleveland, Page 93, No 80. Similar examples are illustrated in "Fine and Curious: Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections", by Christiaan J.A.Jorg, Page 60, No 44 and "Japanese export porcelain: Catalogue of the collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford", by Oliver Impey, Page 70, No 51. Price: £ 11,000 Weight: 1.5 KgRead more

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Japanese Arita Blue and White Dish

This finely painted saucer dish has eight painted lobes and a brown glazed petal rim. It is vigorously painted in underglaze blue with a river scene, including a rocky bank with blossoming prunus, bamboo and rose bushes. To the left, a striding tiger faces a grinning dragon, whose head and tail are emerging from clouds to the right. The underside is decorated with a scroll of pending karakusa and on the base there are six spur marks surrounding a square fuku mark in seal script. The tiger was extremely popular in Europe and was copied extensively on porcelain. The tiger is not indigenous to Japan and was a motif originally taken from China and Korea - possibly only reaching Japan in paintings. The motif of the tiger facing a dragon is thought to represent "Heaven and Earth". As with all kakiemon under glaze blue pieces this dish has an ordinary Arita body. Diameter: 30.5 cm Last Quarter of 17th century CONDITION There is a small area of restoration to the rim and a short sealed hairline crack. RELATED EXAMPLES An identical example is illustrated in "Fine and Curious: Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections", by Christiaan J.A.Jorg, Page 145, No 159. A similar example is illustrated in "Porcelain for Palaces: The Fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1750", by John Ayers, Oliver Impey and J.V.G Mallet, Page 154, No 126. Price: £ 5,000 Weight: 1.0 KgRead more

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Transitional Blue and White Pear-Shaped Vase

This heavily potted blue and white vase has a pear-shaped body and a tall waisted neck - painted with stylised tulips and Buddhistic emblems. The decoartion is in the " High Transitional" style with a scene of a military officer baring a halberd - a spear-shaped weapon with a crescent blade to one side. There is a fortress to the rear of the landscape and a horse being equipped for battle in the foreground. It is thought that the scene may be taken from the historic novel " Romance of the Three Kingdoms " showing Lu Bu with his horse " Red Hare ". Lu Bu was a warlord during the late Eastern Han dynasty - described as a mighty warrior but notorious for his temperamental behaviour - for which he earned the nickname of " Flying General ". In chapter three of the novel, Lu Bu is described as " ...with a lofty and dignified look and a majestic and awe-inspiring baring, wielding a halberd..." which later in the novel is given the name " Sky Piercer ". Unfortunately Lu Bu met his end in 199 AD, being hanged and then decapitated on the orders of Cao Cao. After his death, his horse " Red Hare ", came into Cao Cao's pocession and later it was given to Lord Guan. However the animal sadly starved itself to death whilst in the later ownership of Ma Zhong. The halberd is a pun for "rank" - representing rapid promotion and success in politics. Sometimes the halberd is also shown with a stone chime - representing " auspicious hapiness ". Height: 21 cm Chongzhen (1635-44) PROVENANCE English Private Collection - last with Christie's Amsterdam, May 2004. CONDITION The porcelain and the glaze are of good quality with the scene detailed. There arel two small areas of v-shaped restoration to the flared lip. RELATED EXAMPLES A similar vase but dispalying a different scene, is included by S. Marchant & Sons in their exhibition of " Ming Blue and White: Jiajing - Chongzhen: Including dated Examples", 2004, Page 108, No77. Price: £ 5,000 Weight: 0.8 KgRead more

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