Café-au-Lait Huqqa Base 清青花紫金釉水烟壶
This porcelain huqqa base of pear-shaped form has a cup-shaped mouth and sits flat on an unglazed base. It is partially covered in a brown iridescent glaze. Left in reserve are areas of white with underglaze blue decoration. These include four tear-shaped medallions with foliage motifs around the body; three tear-shaped medallions around the mouth; and horizontal bands around the body and neck.
The lustrous brown glaze on this huqqa base, commonly referred to as ‘café au lait’, is often found on porcelain items made for the Indo-Islamic market. The function of this object in addition to its shape, which references Indian and Islamic metalwork, indicates that this huqqa base would have been made for export. For a similar example of a café-au-lait huqqa base, see the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Accession Number C.959-1910 (click here), and published in Kerr and Mengoni, p. 109, no. 155.
Kerr, R. and Mengoni, L. Chinese Export Ceramics, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2011.