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A Blue-Ground and Green-Enamel 'Dragon' Bowl, Mark and Period of Kangxi - Photo Sotheby's

the deep rounded sides rising steeply from a short straight foot to a flared rim, brightly painted in green enamel against an underglaze-blue ground, the interior with a central medallion enclosing a five-clawed dragon writhing fiercely among flames within a double-line border, the inner walls left white, the exterior similarly decorated with two five-clawed dragons striding among flames and clouds in pursuit of 'flaming pearls', above three tiers of pointed overlapping petals skirting the foot, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark within a double ring in underglaze blue, the fifth claw of each dragon later hidden beneath black enamel; 13.8 cm., 5 1/2 in. Estimation: 500,000 - 700,000 HKD

PROVENANCE: Spink & Son Ltd, London.
Christie’s Hong Kong, 7th July 2003, lot 573.

LITTERATURE: Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1721.

NOTE DE CATALOGUE: Two-coloured bowls of this type decorated with five-clawed dragons were the customary food vessels used in the Qing palace during large banquets, where the colours were regulated according to rank. Similar bowls were in use throughout the dynasty and the same pattern can be found with many different reign marks, those of the Kangxi period (AD 1662-1722) being the earliest. On the present bowl, the three dragons all have the fifth claw on each leg hidden under flame-like motifs in black enamel that were added at a later stage, probably to hide palace provenance of the bowl.

Another Kangxi bowl of this design in the Shanghai Museum is published in Wang Qingzheng, ed., Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1998, pl. 194. A similar pair of bowls in the Roemer Museum, Hildesheim, is published in Ulrich Wiesner, Chinesisches Porzellan. Die Ohlmersche Sammlung im RoemerMuseum, Hildesheim, Mainz am Rhein, 1981, cat. no. 111 and col. pl. 209. Compare also a Kangxi dish decorated with this design in this colour scheme illustrated in John Ayers, The Baur Collection Geneva: Chinese Ceramics, Geneva, 1968-74, vol. IV, no. A 555.

Sotheby's. The Meiyintang Collection, Part IV - An Important Selection of Imperial Chinese Porcelains. Hong Kong | 09 oct. 2012 www.sothebys.com