A dated blue and white brush pot, Shunzhi period, dated 1654. Estimate $20,000 – $30,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015
The cylindrical brush pot is painted in dark tones of underglaze blue with two magpies perched on a bare tree with narcissis flowers growing at its base, beneath a ten-character inscription that reads jiawu qiuri xieyu Wangan Jingshe(‘painted in the autumn of the jiawu year  in the studio of Ten Thousand Bamboo’). The opposite side is decorated with the ‘Three Friends of Winter’ (bamboo, prunus and pine), as three magpies frolic above. The flat base is unglazed. 6 ¾ in. (17.1 cm.) high – Lot 3530
Provenance: Blitz Antiek, Amsterdam, 1992.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.
Literature: Michael Butler, Julia B. Curtis, and Stephen Little, Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, Alexandria, VA, 2002, pp. 134-135, no. 27.
Exhibited: Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, 2 May – 8 September 2002.
The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas, Texas, Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, 3 October 2002 – 5 January 2003.
University of Virginia Art Museum, Charlottesville, Virginia, Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, 25 January – 23 March 2003.
Notes: In her note to this brush pot in the exhibition catalogue, Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661, Alexandria, VA, 2002, p. 134, Dr. Julia Curtis refers to the essay by Qianshen Bai in the same publication and notes that he concludes “vessels signed with seals reading Zhuying (Bamboo Shadow) were made by a kiln that described itself as the “Studio of Ten Thousand Bamboo” or “Studio for Appreciating Bamboo.”
In the 2006 publication, Seventeenth Century Jingdezhen Porcelain from the Shanghai Museum and the Butler Collection: Beauty’s Enchantment, p. 51, Wang Qingzheng goes into further detail about this kiln, also known as the Ke Bamboo Studio, noting other seals used by the kiln, and that it was the most important non-imperial kiln of its time. See, also, pp. 51-53 for a discussion of the characteristics of other wares from this kiln as well as a reference to the present brush pot.
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