Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai circular box and cover, he, painted on the cover in a slightly raised circular roundel with a boy holding a gilt sceptre while riding a qilin, between boys holding flags and a canopy with gilt lotus and ribbons in a landscape scene amongst speckled grass, rockwork and fencing beneath ruyi-clouds, surrounded by a border of precious object reserves including; scrolls, a ribbon-tied wrapped qin, a weiqi board with counter holder and a ribbon-tied stack of books on a diaper ground with octagonal flowerheads, the base with a ruyi-head and jewelled border above a lozenge band.

8 inches, 20 cm diameter.
Kangxi, 1662-1722.


Wear to enamels consistent with age, two chips to inner mouth rim of base restored, three small shallow areas of repair to the outer rim of the base, the cover with two shallow scratches on the white border ring.

Provenance & Additional Information

• From the collection of Major R. B. Collie MFH (1912-1976) and thence by descent. This piece was inherited by Major Collie from one of his ancestors who was titled and lived in Liverpool in the 19th century.
• An early Kangxi ovoid vase with this subject matter in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is illustrated by He Li in Chinese Ceramics, A New Comprehensive Survey, no. 649, pp. 303 and 327, where the author notes, “A crowned boy holding a ruyi (‘sceptre’) is depicted riding the mythological qilin. He is escorted by two boys holding flags and, behind him, by another boy carrying the official banner with a ruyi on top. The pictorial theme reflects the Chinese phrase qilin-songzi (‘qilin brings a boy’), which expresses the desire for an official career for male children”. Terese Tse Bartholomew notes in Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art that qilin songzi, ‘may the qilin bring you a son’, is similar to the Western stork, as the qilin is believed by the Chinese to be a bringer of sons.
• A Kangxi famille verte biscuit model of a boy holding a sceptre seated on a qilin is included by Frank Partridge & Sons Ltd. in their exhibition of A Collection of Old Chinese Porcelain, 1933, no. 63, description p. 24, illustrated opposite p. 22.