A small blue and white baluster vase, Early Kangxi period, circa 1670. Estimate $15,000 – $18,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015
The small high-shouldered vase, with slender neck and flaring mouth, is decorated with a scene from The Water Margin, depicting Huyan Zhuo and Wu Song combating each other with a sword and a whip. Each figure is accompanied by an identifying inscription, all between decorative bands and small flowers on the neck. The base bears an apocryphal Chenghua mark. 8 1/8 in. (20.5 cm.) high – Lot 3572 – Price Realized $21,250
Provenance: Anita Gray, London, 1996.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.
Notes: Huyan Zhou, supposedly a descendant of general Huyan Zan, also served as a general in the imperial army of the Song and was renowned for his bravery and fighting skills. His favored weapons were a pair of metal clubs, and his nickname was ‘double clubs’. The other protagonist on this vase is Wu Song, who is described as handsome and had various nicknames including ‘the pilgrim’ and ‘tiger fighting hero’. He was believed to have been a student of archer Zhou Tong, and was also a master of several other martial arts, being particularly skilled in the use of the staff. For four small Shunzhi-period dishes in the Curtis collection that are decorated with characters from The Water Margin see lot 3556.
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