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56. Hunters

China, Kangxi period (1662-1722) c.1700
Height: 27,5 cm

Provenance: Provenance:
private collection, Belgium

A set of three jars and covers, with a globular body, short neck and an unusually high spreading foot. The body is moulded and decorated in underglaze blue, with eight large panels, alternately containing scenes of hunters on horseback and riverscapes. Below these scenes, is a moulded band of overlapping small and large lotus leaves. On the shoulder are petal shaped reserves decorated with with sprays of flowers and fruit. Around both the neck and foot are a double band with a diaper and leaf pattern. The high domed lids, are decorated with six moulded lappet panels outlined with a thin blue line with flower sprays; the finial is white with a circular medallion with a stylised flower.

Hunting scenes were a typical decorative motif on finely decorated export-wares in the Kangxi period. On each of these vases, four of main panels depict a different hunter, mostly men but some women. They are carrying an array of hunting weapons including spears and bows, several hold a bird of prey. Hunting was an ancient aristocratic pass-time in China; it was widely practiced and considered to be an import skill.

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