From our Chinese Monochrome Collection, a very fine pair of blanc de chine (dehua) fu dogs modeled as taper stick holders, either late Ming / early Shunzhi (1620-1650), or possibly early Kangxi Period (circa 1662-1690), of well-known and documented form, with each fu dog perched atop a rectangular base with a brocaded ball under its paw and a ribbon held in its mouth. Additionally, each piece exhibits a high degree of hand applique modeling with respect to the ribbons, manes, bells, and tassels, which is characteristic of the earlier examples of this type of ware. Later fu dog pieces tend to be almost exclusively mold-made with much less hand-work.
Marchant & Son in their 2006 Blanc de Chine Exhibition catalogue, on page 88, plate 56, illustrates a nearly identical pair which they date as late Ming / early Shunzhi (1620-1650). See attached photo. As one of the premier dealers in the trade, Marchant’s expertise is beyond question of course, and there is no reason to question their dating attribution. But mindful of the inherent difficulties in pinning down dates for blanc de chine to less than 50 years, and mindful as well of our own Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee which we take very seriously, we would prefer to give ourselves a little extra room and push the outer limit to early Kangxi Period. But we do agree, however, that a late Ming / early Shunzhi attribution (1620-1650) is probably correct here. A few other examples of this form are held in the Dehua Ceramic Museum, The Dresden Museum, and the Royal Scottish Museum.
Size and Condition: These are large examples at 13 1/8 inches tall, 3 1/2 inches wide, 5 inches deep. Given that these were functional items actually used in daily life, there are certain damages that are expected but considered acceptable, and do not detract from these pieces. One piece has some minor losses to the ribbon on the tail, and a small 1/8 inch firing crack on the chin; The other piece has some damage to the taper stick holder, a 1/8 inch firing crack near the dog's derriere, and a small chip to the left front of the base.