An underglaze-blue and copper-red-decorated powder-blue-ground dish, Kangxi period (1662-1722). Estimate $10,000 – $15,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015
The shallow dish is decorated on the interior with an elegant lady wearing a long robe gazing at the orchid she holds and leaning on a table on which rests a small censer and a ‘cracked-ice’ vase, all set against a powder-blue ground. The reverse is decorated with two branches bearing red berries or blossoms, and the base is inscribed with a small tripod ding within a double circle. 10 3/8 in. (26.4 cm.) high – Lot 3585 – Price Realized $45,000
Provenance: S. Marchant & Son, Ltd., London, 1986.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.
Notes: A nearly identical dish is in the Rijksmusuem, Amsterdam, and is illustrated by Christiaan J.A. Jörg in Chinese Ceramics in the Collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: The Ming and Qing Dynasties, London, 1997, p. 127, no. 130, where the author notes that the orchid is the symbol of friendship, love and beauty.
The depiction of a single, elegant lady appears to have become a popular subject in all mediums in the Kangxi period, whether depicting a specific individual or a general ‘beauty’. For a blue and white saucer dish bearing a Kangxi mark and painted with a large central image of Chang-E, see S. Marchant & Son, Exhibition of Seventeenth-Century Blue and White and Copper-Red and their Predecessors, London, 1997, p. 59, no. 48. Scroll paintings can also be found, possibly inspired by the famous Twelve Beauties at Leisure Painted for Prince Yinzhen. See an example by Zhang Zhen, 17th century, depicting a lady standing by a window holding a fan, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 6 July 2003, lot 425.(fig. 1)
Fig. 1: Lady at a Window By Zhang Zhen, 17th century. Hanging scroll, ink and color with gold on silk. Signed: Guangling Zhang Zhen, with two seals of the artist, 57 x 25 in. (144.5 x 63.5 cm.). Sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 6 July 2003, lot 425.
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