A Blue And White Inscribed And Dated Quadrilobed Tray. Jiaqing Seal Mark In Underglaze Blue And Of The Period (1796-1820). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012. 

With shallow rounded sides, the interior is inscribed with an Imperial poem praising well-prepared tea dated to the cyclical year of dingsi, corresponding to 1797. The inscription is surrounded by bands of flower scroll, and sprays of different flower scroll decorate the exterior. 6¼ in. (15.9 cm.) long - Estimate $45,000 - $55,000

Provenance: Christie's Swire, Hong Kong, 31 October 1994, lot 604. 

Notes; The poem on this small dish, composed by the Jiaqing Emperor, praises the pleasure of drinking tea and appears on tea trays and tea pots of different palettes. S.W. Bushell translates the poem in Oriental Ceramic Art, London, 1981, p. 239, as:
'Finest tribute tea of the first picking
And a bright full moon prompt a line of verse.
A lively fire glows in the bamboo stove,
The water is boiling in the stone griddle,
Small bubbles rise like ears of fish or crab.
Of rare Chi'i-ch'iang tea, rolled into tiny balls,
One cup is enough to lighten the heart,
And dissipate the early winter chill.'

A similar blue and white tray is illustrated by H.A. Van Oort, Chinese Porcelain of the 19th and 20th Centuries, The Netherlands, 1977, p. 19, pl. 2. Compare, also, the pair of dishes of this pattern and date sold at Christie's London, 15 May 2012, lot 395.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part II , 13 - 14 September 2012 . New York, Rockefeller Plaza