Ivy Chan, Specialist in Chinese Art, Christie’s
Produced in the imperial kilns of Jingdezhen, small porcelain cups decorated with chickens amongst flowers have been highly celebrated in China throughout the centuries. After the first ‘chicken cup’ was created in the colourful doucai technique under the reign of the Chenghua Emperor (1465-1487), copies of the same design emerged in the following periods. The beauty, power and value associated with ‘chicken cups’ has captured the imagination of people around the world. This talk traces the fascinating story of this cup, starting from its original function and symbolism as a drinking vessel to its later appreciation by collectors, museums and auction houses as a collectable art form.