A fine and rare Imperial blue and white ‘three friends of winter’ porcelain dish, underglaze blue Qianlong six-character seal mark and period. Photo Nagel

Finely potted and painted with carefully shaded angular rocks and bamboo leaf sprays dividing a knotty pine and a gnarled flowering prunus tree, all within double line borders repeated on the rim, the exterior decorated with a lady seated on a terrace and boys playing in a garden beneath a willow tree. Good condition. D. 18,1 cm. Estimate 20 000/30 0000 €

A Qianlong dish painted with the ‘Three Friends’ and with the same figure scene on the reverse, sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 5th December, 1979, lot 688, is illustrated by Jenyns, Later Chinese Porcelain, pl. XCV. Other examples of this design are illustrated by Gulland, Chinese Porcelain, vol. II, no. 860, and by Yeo and Martin, Chinese Blue and White Ceramics, pl. 163, no. 300. For the Ming origin of this design compare two fifteenth century dishes with different figures on the reverse included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Ming Dynasty Porcelain in the National Palace Museum, pl. 83, with a Xuande reign mark, and pl. 105; also a Jiajing dish with the same scene as the present dish on the reverse illustrated loc. cit., pl. 28 

Nagel. "Asian Art". 2012/11/02 http://www.auction.de/