KANGXI PERIOD (1662-1722)

11 cm wide

The cup is supported on a slightly splayed oval foot, rising to an everted rim with a projected mouth forming the spout. The exterior is painted in blue, green, yellow, aubergine and turquoise enamels and iron-red with two large taotie masks against a stippled ground, below a geometric border interrupted on each side by an ogival panel enclosing ribboned symbols. A scrolling border encircles the foot. The handle is applied in high relief with two chilong. Two further chilong are applied below the spout. The mouth and foot rim, interior and recessed base are covered with a transparent glaze.

The present pouring vessel belongs to a group made in the Kangxi period with a variety of colours and designs. The shape probably derived from Western Zhou-dynasty (1050-771 BC) archaic bronze forms, jue or yi. Similar cups were also made of lacquer and jade. Several elements of the decoration seen on the present example, are again inspired from ancient bronze motifs, particularly the taotie masks. This cup is highly unusual for its thick blue enamel of vibrant colour. A near identical example is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.


Christie's London, 5 December 1977, lot 193

Christie's Amsterdam, 27 March 1985, lot 151

Formerly in a Dutch private collection