Chinese porcelain famille verte, rouleau vase with high shoulder, cylindrical ribbed neck and galleried rim, painted on the body in a continuous scene with the Tang Dynasty General Guo Ziyi, celebrating his sixtieth birthday amongst his family, including eleven boys, young men, two young girls and other scholars, dignitaries and attendants with one boy seated at a table in an iron red chair pretending to paint in front of a crested wave screen and four other young men bowing at each other while standing on an elaborate floral rug, all in a curtained open terrace scene with fencing, rockwork, wutong and an iron-red cloud bank, the neck with a flowering peony branch amongst rockwork with large buds and leaves and two birds in flight.  The base glazed white with a double ring in underglaze blue.

18 1/8 inches, 46 cm high.

Kangxi, circa 1680. 



Provenance & Additional Information

  • Formerly in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Collection. John Davison Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, into one of the wealthiest American families. His father founded and was president of Standard Oil. While at Brown University he met and later married Abby Aldrich, the daughter of The United States Senator from Rhode Island. Nelson, one of their six children, would later become Vice President of The United States. His passion was for philanthropy. In 1946, he gave eight million US Dollars for the purchase of land for the United Nations Building in New York. Most of his charitable gifts went to general foundations, churches, historic preservation projects, national parks, collages, libraries and museums and he created The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research which today is part of Rockefeller University.
  • Formerly in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accessioned in 1960.
  • Sold by Christie’s, New York, in their auction of Collection in America: Chinese Ceramics from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 15th September 2016, lot no. 877, pp. 104-105.
  • Published by Marchant in their exhibition of Kangxi Famille Verte, 2017, no. 2, pp.10-14.
  • The scene depicted of the Tang Dynasty General Guo Ziyi’s birthday is considered a Chinese portrayal of grand wealth, rank and longevity. He lived between AD 697-781 and served under four Emperors. He was instrumental in quelling the An Shi Rebellion. Because Guo enjoyed a successful career and long life, and his many sons and sons-in-law were also successful Court Officials, he became the ultimate representative of a blessed man bestowed with longevity, progeny and an honourable career. Other scenes depicting his seventieth and eightieth birthdays are also recorded.
  • A similar scene is depicted on a large blue and white rouleau vase in The Gu Gong Museum Collection and is illustrated by Chen Run Min in Qing Dynasty, Shunzhi Period and Kangxi Period Underglaze Blue, no. 293, pp. 455-457, in this scene many family members and officials came to offer their congratulations and covered his bed with their sceptres which was also recorded on his sixtieth birthday.
  • It is rare to find famille verte vases from the Kangxi period with an absence of underglaze blue or blue enamel, the palette clearly being a continuation of Shunzhi wucai, and together with the colour of the enamels indicate early Kangxi production.