Chinese Wucai fish jar offered at Christie’s

A rare Ming dynasty Chinese Wucai (five coloured) fish jar is selling at Christie’s with an undisclosed estimate.  

It will be offered as part of the acclaimed Le Cong Tang collection, which crosses the block in Hong Kong this November.

Wucai fish vase

The vase is painted with fish and aquatic plants 

“Fish” in Mandarin shares the sound for “abundance”, making it a popular symbol for court painters.  

The beautifully hand painted jar is one of few survivors of its type from the age of the Jiajing emperor (1521-1567).

It also features its original domed cover, further enhancing its rarity.

Christie’s comments: “Wucai fish jars complete with the original covers are exceptionally rare, and have been items of admiration and reverence by connoisseurs throughout centuries.

“Aside from the present piece, only three other Jiajing fish jars complete with a cover appear to have been sold at auction.”

One of those other jars realised $1.9m at Sotheby’s in 2012, more than double its $700,000 valuation.

The present specimen is primed to break the $2m mark.

Elsewhere in the sale a yellow enamelled bowl from the Xuande period (1426-1435) could make up to $4.4m.

The piece last sold for $3.4m in 2012.

It’s the only bowl of this type known to exist and one of four Xuande-era ceramics glazed in monochrome yellow.

Two of these are housed in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan.

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