A pair of extremely rare porcelain milk bottles, dating to the Communist era, are being offered by Chiswick Auctions in their upcoming Asian Art sale on 1 September 2015.
Thickly potted, with a swelling body, a thick neck and slightly flaring mouth, and covered overall with a thick creamy white glaze, with stencilled lettering in underglaze cobalt blue reading “Beijing City Milk Company, Chao Niu Yoghurt”. The bottles, which measure 11cm high, date to the 1960s when China was under the reign of Chairman Mao Zedong.
“So-called ‘Communist era’ material is experiencing a revival with contemporary designers plastering Communist slogans over everything from T-shirts to kitchen towels.” Asian Art specialist, Lazarus Halstead explains, “But what makes this pair special is that, despite its utilitarian form, it is an exclusive and elite object from the heart of Communist China which tells a unique story.”
The pieces come from the collection of a diplomatic family. The present owner acquired the milk bottles as a child living with diplomatic parents in Beijing in the 1960s. At the time milk was strictly rationed available only to a select few foreign diplomats and government officials from the highest ranks of the Communist party. The bottles, property of the State, would never normally have been kept and their survival is the result purely of a young child’s whim.
The pieces will be offered with an estimate of £100 – £200.
Chiswick Auctions is currently welcoming entries to the forthcoming specialist Asian Art sales on 1 September and 3 November.