A fine pair of blue and yellow 'Dragon' bowls, Qianlong seal marks and period

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A fine pair of blue and yellow 'Dragon' bowls, Qianlong seal marks and period. Estimate 60,000 — 80,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's

each with deep rounded sides rising from a short foot to an everted rim, freely painted in reverse in rich cobalt-blue tones and heightened in yellow with two five-clawed scaly dragons in pursuit of a flaming pearl, all amidst fire and cloud scrolls and above a lotus lappet band, the interior with a dragon medallion, the base with seal mark in underglaze-blue. Quantité: 2 - 10.5cm., 4 1/4 in.

ProvenanceS Marchant & Sons, London, 1965. 
Collection of Anthony Evans.

NotesTwo-coloured bowls of this type decorated with five-clawed dragons chasing a flaming pearl were the customary wares used at the Qing court during Imperial family banquets. According to Palace records, during the Qianlong reign blue-ground bowls with yellow dragons were reserved for fifth-rank consorts (pei), while yellow-ground bowls with green-glazed dragons were used by fourth-rank consorts (fei), and green bowls with aubergine dragons were used by sixth-rank ladies (see the exhibition catalogue Splendor of China’s Forbidden City. The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong, The Field Museum, Chicago, 2004, p. 202).

Compare a closely related pair of bowls from the collection of Frances H. Horne, sold in our New York rooms, 1st/2nd June 1993, lot 41; a single bowl sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 20th November 1984, lot 433; another, sold at Christie’s New York, 1st June 1990, lot 279; and a fourth example sold at Christie’s London, 17th June 2003, lot 40. See also a slightly larger bowl, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, included in the exhibition Splendor of China’s Forbidden City, ibid., cat. no. 252; and another from the collection of R.I.C. Herridge, sold in these rooms, 8th/9th July 1974, lot 367, and again in our Hong Kong rooms, 29thNovember 1978, lot 352.

For a prototype of this design, compare a blue-and-yellow dragon bowl with a Kangxi (1662-1722) mark and of the period, in the Nanjing Museum, Nanjing, illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 72; and a Yongzheng (1723-1735) mark and period example, from the Qing court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Miscellaneous Enamelled Porcelains, Plain Tricoloured Porcelains, Shanghai, 2009, pl. 64.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art Londres, 13 mai 2015, 11:00 AM