A fine blue and white 'Fruit and Flower' lobed bowl, Mark and period of Xuande

A fine blue and white 'Fruit and Flower' lobed bowl, Mark and period of Xuande


Lot 3030. A fine blue and white 'Fruit and Flower' lobed bowl, Mark and period of Xuande (1426-1435); 22.8 cm., 9 in. Estimate 5,000,000 — 7,000,000 HKD. Lot sold 8,440,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's

of conical form with a six-lobed rim supported on a short slightly tapered foot, the interior centred with a medallion containing a flowering peach branch, surrounded by three sprigs of lotus flowers alternating with sprays of tree peony, chrysanthemum, and herbaceous peony, all beneath a row of small floral sprigs at the rim, the exterior painted with six fruit sprays comprising peach, cherry, loquat, pomegranate, grape, and lychee, alternating with six small floral sprays below including camellia, chrysanthemum, lotus, rose, and peony, the foot further encircled with a 'classic' scroll, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark within double circles

Provenance: An old Japanese private collection, Tokyo, since the early 20th century.
Note: Bowls of this elegant shape and decoration are classic examples of Xuande porcelain produced in the imperial kilns, and the present piece is distinctive for its delicate design which has been skilfully rendered in rich shades of underglaze blue. Closely related bowls can be found in important museums and collections worldwide; one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan cang Mingchu qinghua ci[Early Ming blue-and-white porcelain in the Palace Museum], vol. 2, Beijing, 2002, pl. 146; another in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, is published in Shanghai bowuguan[Shanghai Museum], Beijing, 1985, pl. 105; a bowl in the Capital Museum, Beijing, is included in Shoudu bowuguan cang ci xuan [Selection of porcelain from the Capital Museum] Beijing, 1991, pl. 97; another in the Jingdezhen Ceramic Museum is published in Keitokuchin jiki [Ceramics in Jingdezhen], Kyoto, 1982, pl. 38 (bottom); and a fifth example in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated in Minji meihin zuroku[Illustrated catalogue of important Ming porcelains] vol. 1, Tokyo, 1977, pl. 65.

Bowls of this type in Western collections include in one illustrated in Regina Krahl,Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. II, London, 1994, pl. 671, in the collections of K.L. Dawes, John F. Woodthorpe and Frederick Mayer, sold in our London rooms, 6th April 1954, lot 24, and again in these rooms, 5th October 2011, lot 12; another from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. R.H.R. Palmer, included in the Min Chiu Society Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition Selected Treasures of Chinese Art, Hong Kong, cat. no. 133, and sold twice at Christie’s Hong Kong, 17th January 1989, lot 567, and 3rdNovember 1996, lot 546.

The design continued to remain popular throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties; compare three bowls from the collections of President Herbert Hoover, Mr. and Mrs. Allan Hoover and Ira and Nancy Koger, sold in our New York rooms, 27th November 1990, lot 6, of Xuande mark and period, lot 9, of Wanli mark and period, and lot 8, a pair of bowls bearing an apocryphal Xuande mark but of 18th century date. 

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong,| 08 oct. 2013