M4706

Pair of Chinese imperial porcelain winecups, each painted on the exterior in iron-red with two five-clawed dragons, amongst stylised flames in pursuit of flaming pearls above a band of crested waves with sea spray, all between iron-red double lines.

2 ⅜ inches, 6 cm diameter.

The bases with six-character marks of Tongzhi in underglaze blue and of the period, 1862-1874.

Condition: excellent.

  • From the collection of Erik Nordstrom, Sweden (1884-1971). Erik Nordstrom was commissioned after a recommendation by the Swedish minister, Gustav Oscar Wallenberg, the Envoye of Japan and China, as Postmaster General in Shanghai at the Royal Chinese General Post Office in 1910. The aim was to help facilitate its work throughout China. Gustav Oscar Wallenberg, who became a close friend of Erik Nordstrom, was also a keen collector of Chinese ceramics and introduced him to Chinese art, they regularly visited the antique shops in Beijing. In 1945, he retired in China and spent his last years there in Qingdao before his return to Sweden in 1948. By the time he left China, he and his family had experienced the fall of the Qing Dynasty, World War I, the Japanese invasion and World War II.
  • An identical wine cup in the Victoria & Albert Museum, collection no. 803-1883, is illustrated by Rose Kerr in Chinese Ceramics, Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911, no. 110, pp. 124/5; another was included by Marchant in their exhibition of Nineteenth Century Mark and Period Porcelain, 1991, no. 58, p. 56; another in the Percival David Foundation, now in the British Museum, was included by Rosemary E. Scott in Elegant Form and Harmonious Decoration, Four Dynasties of Jingdezhen Porcelain, A Joint Exhibition from the Collection of the Percival David Foundation and C. P. Lin, 1992, no. 196, PDF B711, p. 169; three further identical cups are illustrated by Qian Weipeng & Liu Zhiwei in Tian Wu Guan Cang Ci, volume one, Ming and Qing, pp. 282/3.
  • A pair of Xianfeng cups are illustrated by Peter Lam in Imperial Porcelain of Late Qing, from the Kwan Collection, Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1983, no. 87, p. 97, where Simon Kwan records the Tongzhi examples as number 15 in the 1864 production list of the imperial kiln.
  • Included by Marchant in their exhibition of Qing Porcelain from Private Collections, May 2015, no. 48. p. 95.
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