A large blue and white ‘Immortals’ dish, Shunzhi period, circa 1650

Lot 3560. A large blue and white ‘Immortals’ dish, Shunzhi period, circa 1650. Estimate $10,000 – $15,000. Price Realized $27,500Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015

The dish is decorated in the interior with a scene of the Eight Daoist Immortals gathering on a riverbank as the Star God Shoulao sits beneath a pine tree on the opposite bank with a recumbent deer. The base bears a four-character mark yu tang jia qi (‘beautiful vessel for the Jade Hall’), within a double circle. 14 ¼ in. (36 cm.) diam. 

Provenance: Sotheby’s London, 19 November 1985, lot 4.
S. Marchant & Son, Ltd., London, 1985.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.

Notes: Two large dishes of similar proportions, also decorated with the ‘Eight Daoist Immortals’, were illustrated by Michael Butler, Julia B. Curtis and Stephen Little in Shunzhi Porcelain: Treasures from an Unknown Reign, 1644-1661,Alexandria, VA, 2002. The first, from the Butler Family Collection, decorated in the wucai palette (p. 224, no. 75), and the second, from the Collection of Caromy Hoare, decorated in underglaze blue (p. 225, no. 76). Both examples bear the same mark inscribed on this lot, which is noted by Sir Michael Butler to be a commendation or ‘omen’ mark that was popular in the Shunzhi period. The theme can also be found on two other pieces from the Curtis Collection, a large bowl (lot 3559), and a small vase (lot 3564).

Another blue and white example in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated by Chen Runmin in Selected Chinese Ceramics from the Palace Museum (Volume 1): Blue and White Ceramics in Shunzhi and Kangxi Periods (Qing Shunzhi Kangxi chao qing hua ci), Beijing, 2005, pp. 38-39, no. 17, and also bears the same commendation mark. Another was sold at Christie’s London, 12 May 2009, lot 160.

CHRISTIE’S. AN ERA OF INSPIRATION: 17TH-CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAINS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JULIA AND JOHN CURTIS, 16 March 2015,New York, Rockefeller Plaza