Lot 260. A blue and white 'Adam and Eve' saucer dish, Kangxi period (1662-1722). Estimate £1,800 - 2,200 (€2,300 - 2,800). Photo: Bonhams.
The central roundel delicately painted with two figures in a garden surrounded with animals and clouds, the flaring rim with a floral scroll, the underside with further sprigs and an apocryphal Chenghua six-character mark within a double-circle. 16cm (6 1/4in) diam.
Note: For a similar example of this rare dish, see D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, Chinese Export Porcelain: Chine De Commande, 1974, pl. 234. The author rightly places a question mark beside the iconography here, thought to portray Adam and Eve. Normally, we should expect the Serpent and the Apples to be more in evidence, and neither are apparent. Perhaps the presence of the goats and the partially disrobed heroine, suggests a scene more in keeping with classical literature or mythology. Interestingly, when Odysseus finally arrives home in Ithaca, he is met by the Goddess, Athene in the guise of a Shepherd, and carrying a javelin. Athene alters her appearance into a beautiful woman during her conversation with Odysseus, a narrative that would appear to fit the scene here.