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A blue and white 'Kraak Porselein' dish, Late Ming dynasty, circa 1610-1630Estimate $4,000 – $6,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The dish is decorated in the center with a scene of ducks in a lotus pond enclosed by radiating lappets with fruit and floral groupings below the bracket-lobed rim. The reverse is decorated with stylized lappets. 12 in. (30.5 cm.) diam.

Provenance:  Ralph M. Chait Galleries, New York, 1983.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.

LiteratureJulia B. Curtis, “Transitionware Made Plain: A Wreck in the South China Sea,” Oriental Art, Volume XXXI, No. 2, Summer, 1985, p. 172, fig. 23.

NotesThe motif of ducks in a lotus pond was a popular central theme on late Ming dynasty kraak wares. The subject also appears on earlier Yuan and Ming dynasty dishes, including a Yuan example from the Lenora and Walter F. Brown Collection, illustrated by Julia B. Curtis in “Tales told in Porcelain: Jingdezhen Blue-and-White Wares at the San Antonio Museum of Art,” Orientations, April 2005, p. 44, fig. 1, where the author notes, “Because mandarin ducks mate for life, in China they represent a wish for marital happiness. 

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.