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Richard Kan, Collector of Chinese Monochrome Porcelain

Published on , by Virginie Chuimer-Layen

The Chinese monochrome porcelain collection owned by this Hong Kong patron and collector is one of the finest in the world. Part of this remarkable collection is now on show at the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet.

© Richard Kan / COURTESY of Richard Kan Richard Kan, Collector of Chinese Monochrome Porcelain
© Richard Kan / COURTESY of Richard Kan
The name of your collection is Zhuyuetang. What does it refer to? I come from a family of tobacco entrepreneurs, established in 1907, when the Qing dynasty was still in power. This poetic name, freely inspired by the composition of the Chinese character “kan”, like my surname, means “Pavilion of Bamboo and the Moon.” It's a tribute to my forebears. What was your first purchase? Although I studied engineering at university, I've been fascinated by history and objets d’art since I was a teenager. In 1979, when I was 29, I fell for a Yixing teapot from the Ming dynasty [1368-1644—Ed.] made by potter Chen Chongmei. I still own it. Its unglazed, unadorned aesthetic appealed to me, as I have a liking for simple decoration and form. I paid €2,500 for it—quite a sum at the time.   Brush pot, porcelain, oxblood glaze, Jingdezhen kilns, Qing dynasty, Kangxi (1662-1722), h. 12.6 cm/4.7 in, diam 9.8 cm/3.5 in, Zhuyuetang collection. Richard W.C. Kan's Zhuyuetang Collection/photo: Barry Lui What does your collection include? It contains around 400 to 500 porcelains in a wide variety of forms: meiping and yuchun vases, ewers, pitongs, and narcissus bowls, to name but a few of these types, in…
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