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An Yijun lotus-shaped stoneware dish. Wanli. Photo Bonhams

The finely potted dish of flattened circular form, gently rising to a crisply moulded edge formed from sixteen pronounced petals, above sixteen sepals at the underside, covered all over with a delicate pale blue glaze suffused with an attractive irregular crackle, the unglazed foot burnt orange-red in the firing.19.9cm diam. Sold for HK$860,000

Mr and Mrs Gerard Hawthorn Collection

Note: It is extremely rare to find an Yijun dish of this exceptional high quality. For an Yijun lotus-shaped brushwasher from the Qing court collection, preserved in the Palace Museum of Beijing, see Yixing Zisha Wares in the Palace Museum, Beijing, 2009, p.48, pl. 6 (fig.1). The articulation of the lotus design on the Palace Museum example is very close to the current dish. Moreover, the colour of the glaze, and even the texture of the irridescence, is almost identical on both pieces.

Yijun is a term used to describe a group of stonewares produced in the Yixing region, with a specific type of glazing in imitation of the Jun ware of Henan province usually decorated during a second firing in the kiln. Historical records show that the technique was invented in the Ming dynasty and was then favoured by the Imperial court due to its lavish colour and rarity.(Wang Jianhua, 2007:9)

Bonhams. FINE CHINESE ART, 28 Nov 2011. Hong Kong www.bonhams.com