Homage to Kangxi: A Peachbloom Glazed Waterpot
With YKLM Auctions first LIVE Asian Art auction taking place on September 24, another featured highlight is this peachbloom glazed beehive form waterpot, taibai zun.
The form of this waterpot is based on examples from the Kangxi Period (1662-1722). On a wide circular base, the domed body rises to a short waisted neck and a flaring-lipped rim. The body depicts three incised archaistic dragon roundels, and the glaze is a dark copper red ‘peachbloom’ tone throughout.
The base is marked in underglaze blue with the characters da Qing Kangxi nianzhi 大清康熙年製 which translates to ‘made in the Kangxi reign of the QingDynasty’. However, this example is a later 19th Century copy.
These waterpots are named taibai zun太白尊 after the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai 李白(701-762). In numerous depictions, the famous scholar is shown leaning on a massive wine container of similar shape.
These types of waterpots were used by scholars since the 17th Century. It would have been part of a set of eight scholar vessels known as the badama八大碼 (the eight great numbers). These vessels would have included objects like a seal paste box, a brushwasher, an apple-form pot, and miniature vases.A complete set of the badama is one of the ultimate pursuits of Chinese porcelain collectors.
In addition to the unique shape, the glaze is what stands out for these peachbloom vessels. The copper red used to produce a peachbloom glaze is extremely difficult to control due to its mercurial nature. A perfectly fired peachbloom will be a clear pinkish-red with small green and white splashes throughout.
The present peachbloom waterpot is an excellent 19th Century example, and its shape and glaze pay homage to the finest examples produced during the Kangxi reign. This waterpot was consigned by a Vancouver collector who formerly worked for the University of British Columbia.
Re-visit the YKLM News section to see more Object Spotlights for our upcoming live auction on September 24.
Previews will be held in our Richmond gallery at Lipont Place,
4211 No. 3 Road from September 20-23rd.
Written by Anthony Wu.
Based in Toronto, Anthony Wu is an Asian Art advisor, researcher,and writer. He is a certified Chinese Fine Art appraiser with the Appraisers Association of America (AAA) and a board member with the Canadian Association of Personal Property Appraisers.