A rare blue and white porcelain stool. Jiajing. photo Bonhams
Heavily potted of large barrel form with three registers of decoration separated by borders of raised bosses, the larger central register painted in varying shades of underglaze-blue with cranes flying amidst clouds above a band of crashing waves, flanked by a pair of pierced lion masks moulded in relief, each with curling mane formed by raised spirals, enclosed within a quatrelobed cartouche, the upper register painted with ruyi-shaped lappets enclosing horses, the lower register with a band of clouds motifs above a raging torrent, the slightly convex upper surface painted with four lion cubs depicted frolicking with brocade balls around a pierced circular aperture; 35cm high. Estimate: HK$180,000 - 250,000, USD 23,000 - 32,000. Unsold
Provenance: The Tsui Museum of Art (label QPL070)
Another rare porcelain stool in the Shanghai Museum is illustrated by Wang Qingzheng, Underglaze Blue and Red, Hong Kong, 1993, p. 231, fig. 5.
Two fahua examples are discussed by Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, p.425, where she points out that this uniquely Chinese hollow barrel-shaped stool (zuodun) was made for both indoor and outdoor use, especially in traditional gardens and courtyards.
For a pair of slightly larger Wanli blue and white stools sold at auction, see the pair sold at Sotheby's London, 12 May 2010, lot 8.
Bonhams. Bloch Collection; Wine and Whisky; Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art & Paintings; Jewellery, Jadeite and Wristwatches and Writing Instruments, 23 Nov 2010 to 24 Nov 2010. Hong Kong. www.bonhams.com