A rare blue and white 'Frog' weight, Ming dynasty, Tianqi period (1621-1627)

Lot 301. A rare blue and white 'Frog' weight, Ming dynasty, Tianqi period (1621-1627); 10.5cm, 4 1/8 in. Estimate 15,000 — 25,000 GBPLot sold 21,250 GBP. Photo courtesy Sotheby's 2008

naturalistically modelled crouching on a circular base with head raised alertly as if about to leap. 

Note: The present piece is notable for its naturalistic modelling and painting and no other example appears to have been published. Seated on its hind legs with front legs bent poised for action, the potter's careful observation of frogs is evident in its pose and details such as the bulbous eyes and short incised flecks and raised ridges that are enhanced by the glaze.

Symbolic of longevity and wealth, frogs were a popular motif in the decorative arts of China as seen in blue and white frog-shaped kendis, which may have served as the inspiration for this piece; see one illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, vol. II, London, 1986, pl. 1296; and another sold in these rooms, 19th June 2002, lot 119.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. 05 Nov 08. London.