Sale 18417
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Online 7 - 24 July 2020


The present washer belongs to a group of vessels covered in a peachbloom glaze, often referred to as the ba da ma or “The Eight Great Numbers”, made for the scholar’s desk during the Kangxi period, which include washers such as the present example. A set of eight peachbloom-glazed vessels representing these shapes in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is illustrated by S. Valenstein in A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, p. 237.

This type of brush washer is described as being of ‘gong’ shape, or tangluo xi (washer of gong form), as it has a very compressed body. Other Kangxi peachbloom brush washers include one illustrated by S. Jenyns in Later Chinese Porcelain, London, 1904, pl. 7, fig. 1; by M. Beurdeley and G. Raindre, Qing Porcelain, Fribourg, 1986, pl. 98; by J. Ayers, Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, vol. III, Geneva, 1972, nos. A 306 and A 309; in Sekai toji zenshu, vol. 15, Tokyo, 1983, p. 34, no. 27; and another is listed in the Illustrated Catalogue of Ming and Ch’ing Monochrome in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1973, no. B 582 (not illustrated). A further Kangxi peachbloom brush washer was included in the 1978 Hong Kong Museum of Art exhibition, Ming and Ch’ing Porcelain from the Collection of the T. Y. Chao Family Foundation, no. 53.

For three examples sold at auction, see the Kangxi peachbloom washer from the Edward T. Chow Collection sold at Christie’s New York, 19 March 2008, lot 636; the brush washer sold at Christie’s New York, Collected in America: Chinese Ceramics from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Christie’s New York, 15 September 2016, lot 914, which was formerly in the Mary Stillman Harkness (1874-1952) Collection; and the brush washer sold at Christie’s New York, Chinese Art from The Art Institute of Chicago, 12 September 2019, lot 726, which was formerly in the Kate Sturges Buckingham (1858-1937) Collection.

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