REF No. 6470
Pair of Chinese export porcelain famille verte figural candlesticks, modelled as Indian bearers
Kangxi period circa 1710
Height: 11¾ inches; 30cm
A rare pair of famille verte figures of Indian bearers, each holding a candle sconce above his head and squatting on a rectanglar base painted with flower roundels.
A few other examples of this figure are recorded and it is an early example of a type more common in famille rose from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
A pair like these is now at Buckingham Palace, London, mounted on 18th century French ormolu bases with later four-light brass candelabra. They were originally supplied to King George IV (then Prince Regent) for Brighton Pavilion and described in the Inventory as ‘a pair of Josses for lights on square pedestals with ormolu bases, enamelled’. They were moved to Buckingham Palace in March 1847.
The figures represent foreigners bearing tribute to the Chinese Imperial court. They also relate to the figure of an African cupbearer known in Kangxi famille verte as well as 19th century versions in the same palette.
Traders and their labouring servants from India were known in China along the Silk Route and feature in Chinese art from the 1st century AD onwards following the introduction of Buddhism to China.
References: Sargent 2012, p454, No 249, a similar pair in the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; a similar pair is in the Royal Collections, London; du Boulay 1995, a single from the Taft Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio; Cohen & Cohen 2012, p10, No5, a single example; Cohen & Motley 2008, p58, No 1.6, an example of the African cup-bearer, 19th C; Gorer & Blacker 1911, vol I, plate 74, a Kangxi example of the cupbearer; The Royal Palace in Munich also has an ormolu clock mounted with various porcelain items including two figures of the cupbearer; Arapova et al 2003, p64, No72, a later famille rose example of a similar model.