Kangxi or Yongzheng Pair of Biscuit Porcelain Fu Dogs

Kangxi or Yongzheng c.1690-1730

A Pair of Kangxi or Yongzheng Famille Verte Biscuit Porcelain Incense Holders. Modelled as a male and female Fu Dogs, the male with a brocade ball and the female with a cub climbing on her leg. This pair of biscuit porcelain Egg and Spinach Fu dogs are export ware porcelain but their origins are very much from a traditional Chinese origin of ancestor worship. Undoubtedly, they would have appealed to Europeans as curious exotic objects. These Dogs of Fu are unusual in that their bases are oval in shape and that there are several moving parts, their eyes, brocaded ball but their ears as well. For more information about Fu Dogs and Egg and Spinach decoration see below the photo gallery at the bottom of this page. 


In very good condition ; some chips to the lotus tops where the incense would be placed. Tiny crack to the mouth of one lion. One ear is glued in.
Height : 15.8 cm (6 inches)
From a Private American Collection.
Stock number
For a Kangxi Famille Verte biscuit Fu dog with it`s companion see : La Collection de Porcelaines Chinoises de, The Chinese Porcelain Collection of Marie Vergottis (John Ayres, Foundation George et Marie Vergottis-Lausanne, Les Bibliotheque des Arts, 2004. ISBN 2-88453-116-5) page 96, items 75 and 76. For another but single Kangxi Famille Verte biscuit Fu dog see our `Sold Items` number 24100.



A Pair of 17th Century Blanc de Chine Dogs of Fu.

Robert McPherson Antiques - Sold Archive - 21903.

 Blanc de Chine Porcelain `Dogs of Fu`
Blanc de Chine Porcelain `Dogs of Fu` : Blanc de Chine Fu Dogs are difficult to date, they were made in the provincial kilns of Dehua in Fujian province. There are very many versions, all of which are rather similar but really following the same basic model. Technically the production didn`t change much either, on the whole the earlier models have more hand-working. However, the early Blanc de Chine Fu dogs from the Hatcher Cargo, datable to circa 1643 ( stock number 19961 ) have little hand-work. The potting, glaze colour and general finish all point to a specific period but accurate dating is, I believe, very difficult. As with most pairs of Blanc de Chine Fu Dogs the pair are not a pair in the way we know it today. For a start, both are male as they have a brocaded ball each. Only one has a nozzle to take a taper-stick. These would, I am sure, have been a pair originally, the colour, construction and especially the faces are very similar, although only one has his tongue sticking out.


Fu Dogs / Buddhist Lions
When Buddhist priests, or possibly traders, brought stories to China about stone dogs guarding the entry to Indian Buddhist temples, Chinese sculptors modelled statues after native dogs for use outside their temples. The mythic version of the animal, was known as the Dog of Fo, the word Fo being Chinese for Buddha. The Buddhist version of the dog was originally introduced to Han China as the protector of dharma and these dogs have been found in religious art as early as c.200 BC. Gradually they were incorporated as guardians of the Chinese Imperial dharm. However, Chinese sensitivity metamorphosed the dog into a lion, even though lions were not indigenous to China, since this seems more appropriate to the dignity of an emperor when he used the beasts to guard his gates. The mythic dog is sometimes associated with feng shui, and are often called Fu Dogs. Fu means `happiness` in Chinese; however, the term `Fu Dog` and its variant Foo Dog, are not used in Chinese. Instead, they are known as Rui Shi (`auspicious lions`) or simply Shi (lions). There are various styles of imperial guardian lions reflecting influences from different time periods, imperial dynasties, and regions of China. These styles vary in their artistic detail and adornment as well as in the depiction of the lions from fierce to serene.


Egg and Spinach Decoration
This is another of those Western terms used to categorise Chinese ceramics. Unlike many other terms the West has applied to Chinese porcelain, for example Kraak ware or Transitional porcelain, this one is more straightforward and less contentious. The group is characterised by the enamel decoration being directly on to the unglazed `biscuit` porcelain body, it is possibly more correct to describe this as a stained glaze rather than an enamel. The piece was then finished with a clear glaze. Egg and Spinach relate closely to Tang Sancai pottery of the 8th century, these lead glazed ware also have colours that run into one another. The blotchy enamel colours of Egg and Spinach consist of a rich green, a brownish aubergine and yellow with areas of body colour showing through the clear glaze (no doubt created by wax resist). This type of decoration could sometimes include areas, for example the interior of a bowl, decorated in blue and white. These pieces appear to date to the early 18th century rather than earlier. Egg and Spinach itself was popular in China from the Transitional period of the middle of the 17th century until the second quarter of the 18th century. In my view most of the Egg and Spinach was produced in the early 18th century but the literature often suggests an earlier date. Clearly the pieces with blue and white decoration relate to closely to late Kangxi and Yongzheng porcelain. The Ca Mau Cargo had many small pieces with Egg and Spinach decoration, this wreck dates to the Yongzheng period (1723-1735). Indeed most pieces with this distinct colour scheme were small. Egg and Spinach was used in the 19th century, many of these objects were copies of, or at least based on, the original 17th and 18th century examples. In late 19th and early 20th century Europe it was wildly collected, often with other biscuit decorated Chinese porcelain, collectors such as Mrs. Nellie Ionides (1883 – 1962) were at the forefront of this trend.