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Lot n° 27

CHINA, Chenghua mark and possibly period. Rare...

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CHINA, Chenghua mark and possibly period. Rare porcelain cup called "Chicken cup" with rounded wall and flat bottom, presenting a painted enamel decoration of "doucai" type on a white background of rooster, hen and chicks among yellow lily flowers, red roses and rock, a double blue net bordering the neck, a line underlining the foot. A six-character Chenghua mark in cobalt blue underglaze in a double square below. One of the reported pieces, on which part of the rock appears, was most probably taken from a later chicken cup model. Indeed, due to the slightly more matte and orange aspect of the porcelain paste, the subtly different treatment of the design, as well as the slight gap between the double blue border bordering the neck, elements that, in comparison with the original piece, can allow us to deduce that the piece brought back could very probably be part of a "chicken cup" model dating from the 18th century, used to restore the present cup. H : 3,8 ; D : 8,3 cm (important restorations, one of them to the kintsugi, enamel jumps. One element missing and possibly replaced by another element from a later bowl). Provenance : Former private collection from Monaco. The productions of the "Doucai" type, which appeared during the reign of Emperor Xuande (r. 1426-1935) reached their peak during the reign of Emperor Chenghua (r. 1464-1487). The porcelain and the lines of the decoration are first drawn in cobalt blue under glaze, with a high fire. The pattern is then hand-painted on the glaze, using colored glazes called Doucai - iron oxide for the red, copper oxide for the green and antimony for the yellow, which are applied gently on the surface, and the piece is then fired a second time at low temperature. The superimposition of different layers of painted enamels applied with a brush on the surface, visible on our bowl, brings a unique depth to the decoration, of a finesse rarely reached in the porcelain productions of the Ming dynasty. The decoration of the family of the rooster and the hen accompanied by their offspring in search of food echoes the Confucian virtues of parenthood and the gratitude of children to their parents. This type of small cups, intended for the consumption of alcohol, appeared during the Ming Dynasty and was highly appreciated by the Emperor Chenghua who popularized it. It is said that the latter was inspired by a painting of the Song period (see fig 1, in the collections of the National Palace Museum in Taipei), featuring a hen and her chicks, which he particularly liked - he wrote a poem in homage to it - in order to make the decoration of the model. Nevertheless, the number of "chicken cup" produced at that time being low, this type of model remains extremely rare on the market. For a model of "chicken cup" brand and Chenghua period, see Sotheby's sale "The Meiyintang Chicken Cup" of April 8, 2014 in Hong-Kong, lot 1. CHINA, 16th century or later. Chenghua mark and possibly of the period. Important and fine Doucai "Chicken Cup". The cup is finely potted accurately respecting the canons of the original production particularly with the proportions with gently flared sides, well-rendered around the exterior in soft translucent enamels and underglaze-blue tones to depict two cockerel-andhen groups, each group observing their chicks foraging for food depicted as two red lombrics intertwined, divided on one side by iron-red flowers growing from ornamental rocks, and the other bylight yellow lilies, all between underglaze-blue double lines at the rim and a single line above the footless base. The underglazeblue Chenghua reign mark inscribed in a double square within the countersunk base. H : 3,8 ; D : 8,3 cm (important restoration including a gold lacquer kintsugi one. Chips to some of the edges of certain pieces. One of the restuck piece possibly missing and replaced with an element from a later cup). Provenance : Old Monte-Carlo private collection. For a similar "chicken cup" model bearing a Chenghua mark and of the period, see Sotheby's Hong-Kong, "The Meiyintang Chicken Cup" april 8th 2014, lot 1.

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