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A very rare blue and white 'dragon' jar. Jiajing six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1522-1566). Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2013

The tapering body is painted in inky tones of underglaze blue with two five-clawed dragons racing amidst clouds and flames in pursuit of flaming pearls between a petal lappet band below and a band of overlapping petal tips above, all below a band of classic scroll that encircles the neck. 7 7/8 in. (20 cm.) high, wood stand, Japanese wood box. Estimate $50,000 - $70,000

Provenance: Private collection, Japan

Notes: Only two other jars of this very rare shape and design appear to have been published. The first, of slightly larger size (25.7 cm.) with cover, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated inBlue and White Ware of Ming Dynasty, Book V, Hong Kong, 1963, pl. 14. The other is a jar and cover illustrated in Minto Meihin Zuroko, Japan, 1977, no. 1.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. 21 - 22 March 2013. New York, Rockefeller Plaza.