A blue and white dish, Early Kangxi period, circa 1670. Estimate $10,000 – $15,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015
The dish, with flat, everted rim, is decorated in the ‘Master of the Rocks’ style with a mountainous river scene including a solitary figure of a sage walking beneath a pine tree. The underside is decorated with two further mountain scenes. 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm.) diam. Lot 3576 – Price Realized $18,750
Provenance: S. Marchant & Son, Ltd., London, 1985.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.
Notes: Dishes like this example and the previous lot (3575), where the entire surface of the vessel is given over as the major decorative area, provided the Kangxi ceramic artist with a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate his skills in landscape painting. The style chosen to paint the scene on this dish is a version of the so-called ‘Master of the Rocks’ style. This style, which seems to have developed towards the mid-17th century in the final years of the Ming dynasty, continued to be popular in the early years of the Kangxi reign, with a very few examples being made as late as the turn of the century. The ‘Master of the Rocks’ style was by no means limited to the brush of a single artist, and appears in a number of versions on porcelains from about 1640 to 1700. It was used on porcelains decorated in underglaze cobalt blue and also those decorated in underglaze blue and copper red. There are even very rare examples where the style has been combined with famille verte enamels. The style itself is characterized by the use of ‘hemp-fibre’ strokes to produce rocky landscapes full of movement and drama, often combined with the use of fluid dots to depict scrub and foliage.
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