CATALOGUE NUMBER 0166
FAMILLE VERTE TUREEN AND COVER
KANGXI PERIOD (1661-1722)
Length: 12 ¾ inches
The Chinese Porcelain Company, Ltd., New York, 1997
A tureen and cover made for the French or Continental market, finely painted with vibrant clusters of famille verte peony flowers and spirited pheasants with colorful feathers and uplifted wings. This exceptional tureen is noteworthy for its large size, quality of potting, as well as the fine quality of the enameling. This is the earliest form of tureen made for export and the flat handles suggest that the shape may have been borrowed from a French faience original. Painted on the interior with a richly enameled group of peony and fruit branches on which a delicate bird perches, the well is enclosed by a pendant border of Buddhist emblems. The most unusual feature on this example is the finial, which is sensitively modeled in the form of a small Chinese boy. When viewed from above, only the top of the boy's head is seen, with its small tuft of black hair, and the back of his decorative jacket as he bends over his curved legs and grasps his small feet with both hands. Perhaps the most charming aspect, however, is the face of the boy, expressively depicted with delicate features but almost hidden by his coquettish bow, offering a tentative and enchanting smile. Figures of boys have a long history in the domestic decorative arts in China, as the birth of a son was regarded by the Chinese as a most fortunate event for a young couple. Sargent relates that early figures of seated boys were given as wedding gifts, signifying good wishes for the birth of a son. He goes on to explain that "Children (haiz) implicitly means sons (zi) to the Chinese, because sons were critical.