A Dehua double-walled cup
The cup with rounded sides is carved in openwork around the exterior with three flower heads amidst foliage above a petal border around the tall foot, covered all over with a rich creamy glaze. The base is decorated with a reticulated cash motif.
8.9 cm diameter
Formerly in the collection of the Earls of Stanhope, Chevening
Purchased from S. Marchant & Son, 1994
Formerly in the collection of Robert Suermont
S. Marchant & Son, Exhibition of Blanc de Chine, London, 1994, cat. no. 71
The carving of porcelain revealing an inner wall is known as linglong (ingenious holes), in the West interpreted as ‘devil’s work’. Cups of this type are formed of two layers – the outer wall with pierced decoration, and a second wall to serve as a liner. Their purpose may have been strictly utilitarian, to contain hot tea while held comfortably in the hand. Similar cups are illustrated by Donnelly.