A rare small enameled jardinière, Shunzhi period, circa 1645-1650. Estimate $40,000 – $60,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015
The deep and heavily potted vessel is decorated on the exterior with a scene of three female immortals gathering in the grounds of the Moon Palace with an attendant, with a deer emerging from behind a pine tree and a crane perched beneath a wall on the opposite side. The rim is unglazed and the base bears an apocryphal Jiajing mark. 8 ½ in. (21.6 cm.) diam. Lot 3548
Provenance: S. Marchant & Son., Ltd., London, 1990.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.
Notes: This jardinière, like the blue and white vase decorated with “Washing the Elephant” (lot 3569), also exhibits the link between designs on porcelain and published designs for ink cakes. A 1606 edition of the Cheng Shi Moyuan shows a female immortal with attendant observing the jade hare pounding the elixir by the Moon Palace of Chang E. (fig. 1) The depiction of the Moon Palace rising from clouds can be closely compared to that found on the present jardinière.
Fig. 1: Woodblock illustration to Cheng Shi Moyuan (Catalogue of Cheng’s Ink
Cake Designs), by Cheng Dayue (1542-c. 1616).
This jardinière is very rare; only one other of this shape and polychrome enamel palette, from the Butler Family Collection, appears to be published. The Butler Family example has been extensively published, most recently by Michael Butler and Wang Qingzheng in Seventeenth Century Jingdezhen Porcelain from the Shanghai Museum and the Butler Collection: Beauty’s Enchantment, London, 2006, p. 175, no. 53, as well as by Michael Butler, Julia B. Curtis and Stephen Little in Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, Alexandria, VA, 2002, p. 221, no. 75.
CHRISTIE’S. AN ERA OF INSPIRATION: 17TH-CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAINS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JULIA AND JOHN CURTIS, 16 March 2015,New York, Rockefeller Plaza