Famille Verte from Private Collections
Famille Verte from Private Collections is Marchant’s second exhibition dedicated to Chinese porcelain produced during the reign of the Kangxi emperor painted in famille verte, wucai enamels. The exhibition coincides with Asian Art in London 2021. The exhibition comprises eighteen carefully selected pieces, primarily from celebrated collections and none have been recently published by Marchant.
Few dated pieces of Chinese porcelain exist, the pair of superbly enamelled meiping-shaped vases, no.8, dated to 1701 are a benchmark for dating Chinese ceramics. They are “old friends” of Marchant, published in 2001, having been in notable collections and exhibitions both before Marchant owned them and indeed more recently in the Jie Rui Tang Collection.
Research has enabled Marchant to decipher the unusual scene across both vases where an official has been instructed to move to another position and is unusually presented with new boots. Another piece with an interesting subject matter is the rouleau vase no. 6, with a famous scene from Cailou Ji (The Bunted Loft) with the impoverished scholar Lü Mengzheng, sitting on a well head dressed in his patchwork robes waiting for the wealthy heiress Liu Yue’e to toss her brocade ball as she has vowed to marry whoever catches it. Marchant has been family owned and run for 96 years. The longevity of the business has enabled them to know the market intrinsically. The marvellous ovoid vase, no.10 expertly painted with a vibrant scene of a lady amongst scholars and attendants from the W. A. Evill Collection, had been known to Marchant since it sold at Sotheby’s London in 1965, when it went to The Netherlands. Marchant were later able to purchase it from another dealer, having had a particular desire to own this vase.
Provenance is of utmost importance to Marchant and two pieces in the exhibition have been in the famous collection of T.Y. Chao, nos. 12 and 18. One of these pieces is a charming brush pot painted with elegant ladies. Brush pots are one of the most popular forms in Chinese art for both the collector and the scholar and we have four in the exhibition. The rouleau vase painted with birds, insects and foliage in a wonderful style in a continuous scene reminiscent of a painting, from T.Y. Chao was also in the collection of the Most hon. the Marquess of Lansdowne P. C. and previously sold at Sotheby’s London in 1973.
Pair of Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai biscuit table screens of rectangular form with chamfered corners, each with a figure standing on a riverbank in a mountainous river landscape scene with buildings and pine trees beneath a red sun, recessed within a yellow glazed border and surrounded by lotus flower reserves on a seed green ground, the reverse with bogu tu, ‘100 antiques’, books, censers, brush pots, vases of lotus flowers and peacock feathers, hanging lantern and a perch with a bird, within a recessed border surrounded by lotus flower reserves on a diaper ground.
Chinese imperial porcelain famille verte, wucai saucer dish thinly potted with upright rim, painted with a standing lady with one arm tucked into her elegant ruyi-cloud patterned robes, beside a table with censer, bowl, books and a vase with two peacock feathers, with an iron-red openwork stool at her side.
Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai rouleau vase painted with a scene from Cailou Ji (The Bunted Loft), in which the young impoverished scholar Lü Mengzheng, is seated on the edge of a well head dressed in patchwork robes and will shortly catch the embroidered ball thrown by the wealthy heiress, Liu Yue’e. She is depicted standing on the balcony in front of a table and a landscape screen beside her attendants, with a multitude of scholar suiters standing beneath, all amongst pine trees, wutong, rockwork and the roof of a pavilion, beneath a wide band on the shoulder with love birds, their open wings and beaks touching on a floral diaper on two different floral diaper grounds, the neck with two panels each with a bird perched on a branch amongst aster, bamboo and pinks, with an iron-red seal of zhushi ju, ‘the lodge of bamboo and rock’, beneath the gilt sun, all on a cash diaper ground, the upright galleried rim with a triangular diaper, the base with a green glazed wash.
Pair of Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai dated vases of meiping form, each painted with a scene of a provincial governor being reassigned and departing to his assigned post. In the first scene, two local bearded dignitaries kneel in front of the governor and present a gilt jue containing wine and a new pair of boots for him to take with him as he moves on, leaving behind an old pair symbolising his enduring affection for the local people; on the companion vase, the governor is kneeling while another official reads an imperial edict probably with his reassignment instruction, both in continuous interior scenes in front of mountains and crested wave screens, the reverse with rockwork and wutong, beneath a band of chilong dragons at the shoulder, flowerheads, triangular lappets and jewels on the gently flared neck and above a band of prunus flowerheads and leaves on the splayed foot.
Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai baluster vase of tapered form, with a lady in a sedan chair amongst all her attendants with a warrior and scholar, meeting two kneeling soldiers, one holding a sword by the scabbard, the other holding a banner with a character, ling, ‘order’, with a castle wall in the distance, beneath the sun and clouds in a continuous landscape scene with pine, wutong and rockwork, the shoulder with bamboo reserves on a chrysanthemum flowerhead, leaf and green scroll ground, the gently flaring neck painted with a continuous mountain river landscape scene, with a fisherman beneath the sun, the base glazed white.
Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai vase of rouleau form, painted with two magpies perched on a branch amongst flowering chrysanthemum and tropical leaves, beneath butterflies, dragonflies and other insects, mostly in pairs, beneath a wide band at the shoulder with Buddhist lion reserves, each with a ribbon-tied brocade ball on a geometric ground, beneath a single rib on the neck between bands of jewels, ruyi-head, keyfret, scrolls and lappets, with an upright galleried rim, the foot with a band of lappets, the base glazed white with underglaze blue double ring.
A Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai, brush pot, bitong, painted with three panels of Fuxing, the god of happiness, standing on a rocky promontory, holding a scroll and looking up at an iron-red bat in flight, beside overhanging rockwork; Luxing, the god of wealth, standing and holding up a gilt hu-tablet beside fencing and rockwork and beneath cloud scrolls and the sun; Kuixing, the god of examinations, standing on one leg on the head of a dragon fish emerging from crested waves while holding a brush in one hand and a bushel-measure in the other, his scantly clad torso with a large green ribbon and wearing gilt rings on his ankles, beside a small stack of books, all on an elaborate seed green ground with daisies, lotus, morning glory, prunus, hibiscus, tree peony and bamboo sprays above four clusters of ripe peaches, the foot, rim and interior glazed white, the base with unglazed wide band and recessed glazed centre.
Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai deep bowl painted with four circular medallions with birds and insects amongst flowering plants including peony, prunus, pink, daisy, tree peony and bamboo, all on a moulded ‘reticulated’ ground with fretwork, gently inset with pale green glaze, above a lappet band, the interior glazed white, the base with a six-character mark of Chenghua within a double ring in underglaze blue.
Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai brush pot, bitong, painted with two panels, with two elegant ladies standing beside a pair of chickens, next to a table and stools in a fenced landscape scene, with a rockwork table supporting a censer and cup with two wine jars on the grass, beside insects beneath the red sun, the reverse with a mountainous river landscape scene, with a viewing pavilion and fishing boat beneath the yellow sun, the base with a wide unglazed biscuit band encircling a recessed glazed circle.