A fineley painted Doucai 'Sanduo' bowl. Yongzheng Mark And Period. Photo Sotheby's
the steep rounded sides flaring gently and decorated on the exterior with brilliant transparent enamels outlined in underglaze cobalt-blue with touches of famille rose with three fruiting sprays: of pomegranate, the skin of the three fruit in yellow accented with purple strokes and overflowing with seeds where burst, the bough with iron-red flowers and buds; of finger-citron, the three oddly-shaped fruit with stippled skin; and of lychee, the five fruit with finely drawn scale-like surface in iron-red, aubergine and yellow, all together constituting the auspicious san duo or 'Three Abundances', the foliage of each in two tones of green borne on aubergine-coloured branches, between underglaze-blue lines below the lip and around the slightly tapered footring, the interior centred with a leafy cluster of two peaches in shaded apple-green and iron-red below an iron-red bud and flower, within double lines repeated at the rim; 16.2 cm., 6 3/8 in. Estimate 1,000,000—1,500,000 HKD. Lot Sold 2,420,000 HKD
PROVENANCE: Collection of Sam'l C. Davis (1871-1940) (one of a pair).
Sotheby's New York, 26th November 1991, lot 356.
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1749.
NOTE: The doucai technique of drawing in underglaze-blue outlines and colouring in enamel washes, traditionally made use of the wucai (famille verte) palette but later also incorporated fencai (famille rose) enamels. The colour scheme used on this bowl is particularly interesting, since only one of the fruiting branches, that of the pomegranates, uses a rose-pink enamel, but not in the typical fencai combination with an opaque white, but by superimposing it on yellow. This has created a most original tone which is otherwise very rarely seen and suggests a very early date in the Yongzheng reign.
The companion bowl, also from the Davis collection, was sold in our New York rooms, 27th November 1990, lot 190. A similar bowl is illustrated in Sotheby's Hong Kong – Twenty Years, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 248, one of another pair, sold in these rooms 15th May 1990, lot 286; another single bowl was sold in these rooms 11th April 2008, lot 2834.
The collection of Sam'l C. Davis, one of the largest private collections of Chinese ceramics in the United States at the time, was partly bequeathed to the St. Louis Art Museum, partly to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.
Sotheby's. The Meiyintang Collection - An Important Selection of Imperial Chinese Porcelains, 07 Apr 11, Hong Kong www.sothebys.com