Lot 46. A small wucai ‘Mandarin Ducks’ bowl, Mark and period of Wanli (1573-1619). Estimate HKD 70,000 — 90,000 (7,902 - 10,160 EUR). Lot Sold 475,000 HKD (53,624 EUR). Photo: Sotheby's.
with low rounded sides resting on a tapered foot, the exterior freely painted with pairs of mandarin ducks and other birds in a lotus pond among waterweeds, decorated to the interior with a central medallion enclosing four ruyi heads around a cash coin within line borders, the base with a six-character reign mark within a double circle - 9.9 cm, 3 7/8 in.
Provenance: Collection of John E. Warmington (1900-70), until 1962.
Sotheby's London, 17th July 1962, lot 38 (£62).
Bluett & Sons Ltd, London, 1962 (£62).
Collection of Roger Pilkington (1928-69), from 1962 (£125).
Note: Miniature bowls painted with this ducks-and-lotus motif are rare, although a very similar example, also with a Wanli reign mark and of the period, was sold in our New York rooms, 15th September 2010, lot 240.
This motif of ducks swimming in pairs in a lotus pond enjoyed great popularity throughout the Ming dynasty, as it symbolises a harmonious marriage and the wish for many sons.