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A small blue and white 'Auspicious Characters' bowl, Wanli period, dated 1617Estimate $4,000 – $6,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The bowl is decorated on the exterior with four auspicious characters reading fu shou kang ning ('good fortune, longevity, health and peace´) within star-shaped panels formed by overlapping squares, surrounded by a leafy floral scroll and beneath a floret cell-diaper band. The interior is decorated with a central lotus medallion beneath a wide band of a cockscomb vine and a further cell-diaper band. The base bears a four-character cyclical date dingsi nian zao('made in the year of dingsi´) corresponding to 1617. A later-carved character, zheng, is in the interior, and another,bi, is on the exterior near the foot. 4 3/8 in. (11 cm.) diam. 

Provenance:  Heirloom & Howard, Ltd., London, 1985.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.

Christie's. AN ERA OF INSPIRATION: 17TH-CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAINS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JULIA AND JOHN CURTIS, 16 March 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza.