Lot 96. A large blue and white ‘Dragon’ dish, Ming dynasty, late 15th-early 16th century; 52cm., 20 1/2 in. Estimate 60,000 — 80,000 GBP. Unsold. Photo Sotheby's.

sturdily potted with rounded sides rising from a tapered foot to a wide and everted rim, the interior freely painted with a central medallion enclosing a sinuous coiled dragon (xiangcaolong) grasping a lotus spray in its mouth, all surrounded by a ruyi band and three further dragons pacing along the well with lotus sprays in their mouths, the rim encircled by a classic scroll, the decoration repeated on the exterior.

Provenance: A Portuguese Private Collection.

Note: A dish of equally large size and painted with a similarly rendered dragon in the centre and well, but of rounded form, was sold at Christie’s London, 10th May 2011, lot 257. Dragons with scrolling foliage bodies as seen on the present piece were adapted from designs from late Chenghua period imperial quality porcelain; for example see a Chenghua stemcup in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the exhibition Ming Chenghua ciqi tezhan, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1976, cat. no. 72.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, London, 06 Nov 2013