A rare imperial doucai 'narcissus' dish Yongzheng six-character mark and of the period


A rare imperial doucai 'narcissus' dish Yongzheng six-character mark and of the period

Lot 46. A rare imperial doucai 'narcissus' dish, Yongzheng six-character mark and of the periodEstimate HK$ 600,000 - 800,000 (€71,000 - 94,000). Sold for HK$ 562,500 (€ 67,199). Photo Bonhams.

Thinly-potted with gently rounded sides, finely decorated on the interior with a central medallion depicting flowering narcissus growing between rockwork, under overhanging nandina berries, and lingzhi fungus, the exterior with three evenly-spaced groups of lingzhi issuing from rockwork, all delicately enamelled with vivid shades of blue, yellow, white, pink and green within the underglaze-blue outlines, the base with a six-character kaishu mark. 20.6cm (8 1/8in) diam.

ProvenanceA distinguished European private collection and thence by descent

Note: Easily identified by its brilliantly-coloured red berries and evergreen bamboo-like leaves, the nandina is also known as the 'heavenly bamboo', tianzhu 天竺, for its resistance to the cold winters and as a welcoming sight of the season. When paired with the narcissus, shuixian 水仙, the fungus, lingzhi 靈芝, and rockworks, shoushi 壽石, they form the pun 'May the immortality of the fungus congratulate you on your birthday and bestow longevity', zhixian zhushou 芝仙祝壽. The fondness of the Yongzheng emperor for this floral and rockwork composition is evident in a painting from the Qing Court Collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing, depicting the emperor sitting in the imperial garden copying a sutra, illustrated in Harmony and Integrity: The Yongzheng Emperor and His Times, Taipei, 2009, no.I-57, p.117.

Compare an example illustrated in A Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of the Malcolm Macdonald Collection of Chinese Ceramics in the Gulbenkian Museum of Oriental Art and Archaeology, Oxford, 1972, pl.LXXII, no.205. See also a similar doucai dish in the Meiyintang Collection, illustrated by R.Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol.II, p.135, no.765.

A pair of similar dishes was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28 May 2014, lot 2911