A blue and white ‘hundred boys’ circular box and cover, Wanli six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1573-1619)

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Lot 3322. A blue and white ‘hundred boys’ circular box and cover, Wanli six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1573-1619). Estimate HK$300,000 – HK$500,000 ($38,801 - $64,669). Price Realised HKD 1,180,000 (USD 152,571)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2016.

The domed cover is well painted with a scene of boys at play in a courtyard, surrounded by a band of four dragons striding amidst clouds in pursuit of flaming pearls above a narrow band of precious objects alternating with lingzhisprigs encircling the rim, the sides of box is similarly decorated with an additional narrow scroll band encircling the foot, all outlined in dark underglaze blue and filled in with a blue wash with purplish tone. 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm.) diam.

Provenance: A Japanese private collection, acquired between 1930 and 1950.

Notes: A number of similar boxes of this pattern exist in museum collections. A closely related box and cover is in the collection of Philadelphia Museum of Art and published in Ming blue-and-white : an exhibition of blue-decorated porcelain of the Ming dynasty, Philadelphia, 1949, no. 141; another, in the collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art, is illustrated by D. Leidy in How to Read Chinese Ceramics, New York, 2015. p.87. 

A further example formerly in the T. Y. Chao collection, was sold in Christie's New York, 20 March 1997, lot 80.

Christie's. THE IMPERIAL SALE / IMPORTANT CHINESE CERAMICS & WORKS OF ART, 1 June 2016, Convention Hall