A fine ruby-enamelled anhua  'dragon' bowl, Mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735)

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A fine ruby-enamelled anhua  'dragon' bowl, Mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 9.6 cm., 3 3/4 in. Estimate 1,800,000—2,500,000 HKDLot Sold 5,420,000 HKD. Photo Sotheby's

well potted with steeply rounded sides rising to a flared rim and resting on a short cylindrical foot, finely decorated on the interior with two five-clawed dragons in pursuit of 'flaming pearls' in anhua under a transparent glaze, the exterior covered with a deep ruby-pink enamel, inscribed on the base with a four-character reign mark within a double square

Provenance: Sotheby's Hong Kong, 5th November 1997, lot 1526.

Literature: Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1826.

Note: The rare anhua ('hidden decoration') technique, which involves moulding, and probably a very fine layer of slip, is very different from other forms of decoration that may equally be hidden, but are generally created by the much simpler method of incising. It was developed in the Hongwu period (1368-98) of the early Ming dynasty and hardly used after the Xuande reign (1426-35).

A bowl of the same form, design, enamel colour, reign mark and size in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, is illustrated in Gugong Qing ci tulu. Kangxi yao, Yongzheng yao/Illustrated Catalogue of Ch'ing Dynasty Porcelain in the National Palace Museum, Republic of China: K'ang-hsi Ware and Yung-cheng Ware, Tokyo, 1980, pl. 139; another ruby-pink bowl of this form in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is published in Suzanne G. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, pl. 255.

Sotheby's. The Meiyintang Collection - An Important Selection of Imperial Chinese Porcelains, , Hong Kong, 07 Apr 11