Carl Kempe Chinese Ceramics Collection # 586 PAIR of Fukien porcelain LIBATION CUPS, MING Dynasty (17th C.) with two incised poems (translated below) on each surface of each octagonal cup!
Deep, octagonal oblong section with widening lip and four low feet and ivory-coloured glaze. Illegible seal-mark.17th Century, Ming Dynasty. Condition: excellent, one small firing crack on the inside of each cup which does not show through to the outside. These cups are so thin that they are transparent!
Dimensions: Height 3 3/8 inches (8.6 cms.) and Diameter 5 7/16 inches (13.8 cms.) Purchased at Sotheby's in Paris France, Lot #59. Two # 134 round white labels on bottom of each cup and one faded CK white with red letters label with # partially obscured by another label. There are also much small white round labels "782" on each cup. These famous CUPS were exhibited at 10 museums in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Columbus, Des Moines, Denver, Salt Lake City and Champaign, Illinois in 1971. The exhibition entitled "Chinese Gold, Silver and Porcelain: The Kempe Collection" was first shown & organized by The Asia House Gallery, New York City and this pair of cups was # 134 (see pg. 120 of published catalogue by Bo Gyllesvard for picture and pg. 133 for translation of poems.) Each poem consists of 5 Chinese characters on one panel alternating with two characters on the subsequent panel. Both cups follow this format and both cups also have one panel that has 2 sets of 2 characters on that one panel. The poems read as follows: "Alas, the prime of Spring is in my dream; The fragrance of flowers and spice spreading together; The illusion not going with the tide of time; Not surprised by the wonderful peaks of Wu Mountains." The second poem reads, "Since several years we are parted, how are you? I often think of you even in my dreams. Only my thin body and my books remain; Thinking to take the right way by living in retirement."
Pictures and description of these libation cups are also published in "The World's Great Collections, Oriental Ceramics," vol 8, Kodansha, Tokyo, 1982, pl. 255 and "Chinese Ceramics Treasures" ("Kinesiska Keramiska Masterverk" in Swedish) a selection from the Ulricehamn East Asian Museum including the Carl Kempe Collection, The Museum of Art and Far Eastern Antiquities in Ulriscehamn, Ulricehamn (Sweden) 2002, no 782, pg. 288 and of course in Bo Gyllensvard's "Chinese Ceramics in the Carl Kempe Collection," Stockholm, 1964, pl. 586.