"COCKEREL" Yongzheng, c1722-35





On thin eggshell porcelain in famille rose enamels, the saucer painted with a yellow and black cockerel with famille rose comb, 

beside a blue hollow rock issuing a blooming prunus, with a butterfly and other small flora within a thin iron red border ,

the teabowl painted en suite and centering a small flower


Cockerels represent the warmth and light of the universe

Often a feather of a cockerel was placed on the chest of the deceased,

to awaken them at first light for their journey to the afterlife. 

The white cockerel is considered a guardian against evil,

while the red cockerel is a guardian against fire.


Condition : Excellent; the minor differences in painting is expected for the period


The Saucer : 3-1/4” Wide; The Teabowl, 1-3/16” High x 2” Diameter






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The exact purpose of these small porcelains is debated.  Some report them as being used for medicine. 

They are often described as “toy” porcelains, being use in period doll houses, as well as display in wall cabinets. 

Whatever the original concept, they hold a unique charm among early Chinese ceramics.


Collecting miniatures was a favorite among aristocracy. 

Among the influences were the miniature Mogul painting that flowed into Eastern Europe in the 1500’s. 

This affection moved quickly to The Netherlands and thence into England during the reign of Mary II (1689 -1694). 

It is said that Her rooms at Kensington Palace were decorated with many small vases on displayed

on gilded brackets and on little ledges, and on any and every available surface. 

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) stated that

"The Queen (Mary) brought in the custom or humour, as I may call it, of furnishing houses with China-ware,

which increased to a strange degree afterwards, piling their China upon the tops of cabinets, scrutores,

and every chymney-piece, to the top of the ceilings, and every setting up of shelves for their China-ware,

where they wanted such places, till it became a grievance in the experience of it,

and even injurious to their families and estates".


I have also read that the some of first museums on the Continent were begun to house these small porcelain collections,

as their owners died and wanted the valuable porcelains to remain safe and honored in time. 

I cannot substantiate that information, but it is indeed an interesting concept.




Click Below to View




Click for More Information on Miniature Chinese Export Ceramics

(Left to Right) :

Diminutive Qianlong Rouge de Fer Coffee or Chocolate Cup, c1770

Pair of Kangxi Miniature Rouleau Vases, c1662-1722

Rare Pair of Yongzheng Semi-Eggshell "Cockerel" Teabowls & Saucers, c1722-35

Rare Semi-Eggshell "Valentine Pattern" Teabowl & Saucer, c1745

Pair of Ming Iron Red Painted Teabowls, c1590 - 1620

Qianlong Miniature Figure of a Boy, c1750

Qianlong "Cockerel" Coffee Cup, c1750-60





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M. Ford Creech Antiques & Fine Arts / 581 South Perkins Road /  Memphis, TN 38117 / USA /  Wed.-Sat. 11-6, or by appointment




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Rare Pair of Miniature (Toy) Chinese Export Semi-Eggshell Teabowls & Saucers, painted with a "Cockerel" in famille rose enamels, Yongzheng, 1722-35, "Toy Porcelains"