Lot 302. A very rare armorial blue and white jar for the Portuguese market, Ming dynasty, Wanli period, circa 1590; 42.6cm., 16 3/4 in. Estimate 80,000 — 120,000 GBP. Lot sold 97,250 GBP. Photo courtesy Sotheby's 2008
the robustly potted ovoid body with short straight neck, painted around the exterior in rich cobalt-blue tones with six pentagonal panels, each enclosing a monastery variously above arms of the Augustinians, elephants, lions and peacocks, the smaller panels around the neck enclosing similar scenes.
Note: This impressive jar bears the symbols of the Order of St. Augustine, and it is recorded that a number were at the Convent of the Order founded at Macao in 1589. At this time there was a busy Spanish trans-Pacific trade from China to Mexico by way of the Philippines, with porcelain and other cargoes being transported by land to the Gulf port of Vera Cruz and thence onwards to Spain (see David S. Howard, The Choice of the Private Trader, London, 1994, p. 231).
A closely related example in the Hodroff collection is illustrated ibid., pl. 272; one in the G. Alpoim Calvao collection was included in the exhibition The Porcelain Route. Ming and Qing Dynasties, Fundacao Oriente, Lisbon, 1998, cat. no. 12; a pair was sold in our New York rooms, 5th May 1979, lot 103; and another was sold at Christie's Amsterdam, 23rd October 1986, lot 17. A jar of this type is in the Museo Nationale do Arte Antique, Lisbon, In. no. 6917; and a hexagonal version was sold in these rooms, 11th July 1966, lot 206.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. 05 Nov 08. London