A Ming Blue and White Porcelain Scholars Painters Vessel, Wanli Period 1573-1620. The Rectangular Form has Three Circular Apertures and One Rectangular One. The Small Boss on the Top has a Hole, this is Now Supports an Ormolu Finial. The Recessed Sides Have Panels Painted with Flowers Including an Orchid. The Top is Decorated with Diaper Designs. The Base with a Mark Within a Lozenge Panel, Possibly Fu Gui Jia Qi, `Beautiful Vessel for the Rich and Honourable`.
Condition: In good condition, a fine glaze crack from a firing fault at one corner c.31 mm. Some light polishing has been done to the very lower edges to help accommodate the ormolu base, see photograph of the piece without the metal base. Because of the ormolu attachments to the top is is difficult to see if they hide any rim chips. The rectangular section which does come out shows the porcelain is undamaged.
Size: Width (ormolu base) : 15.6 cm (5 1/2 inches)
References:For a Ming blue and white porcelain painter`s vessel with a six character Wanli mark and of the period, of a circular form and with straight sides see : Fine Chinese Ceramics, Bonhams`s London, 17th May 2012, lot 244. The catalogue entry mentions that the circular apertures we meant to support upright brushes and the rectangular one an ink stick. I have see an example where the apertures have porcelain liners that fit into the holes.
For another round Ming blue and white vessel of this type see : Important Chinese Ceramics and Archaic Bronzes, Sotheby & Co, Hong Kong 16th of November 1973, lot 141.
For a Ming polychrome vessel of this type but again circular see : Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Sotheby Parke Bernet, 23-24th of May 1978, lot 64.
This Ming porcelain Chinese taste scholars object has had ormolu added to convert it to a European ink-stand and was sold in the late 19th or early 20th century by the exclusive Parisian firm of Boin-Taburet (marked Bointaburet on the ormolu base). A partnership of George Boin and Emile Taburet were based at 3 Rue Pasquier, Paris. This retail firm is considered to have re-introduced the Louis XV style to Parisian metalwork in the late 1880`s. Boin-Taburet won great acclaim at the International Exhibitions held in Paris, 1889 and Moscow, 1891. They were also chosen to represent France at the St. Petersburg Exhibition of 1902.
The Rectangular section comes out, the circular ormolu additions to the to are attached but triangular sections of the metal being folded back under the porcelain. The Ormolu finial is also attached but I am not sure how.
Ormolu, from the French dorure d’or moulu, meaning “gilding with gold paste” is an eighteenth-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze. The mercury is driven off in a kiln. The French refer to this technique as bronze doré; in English, it is also known as “gilt bronze”.