A fine and rare incised green-enamelled 'Dragon' dish, Hongzhi six-character mark within double circles and of the period (1488-1505)

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Lot 3115. A fine and rare incised green-enamelled 'Dragon' dish, Hongzhi six-character mark within double circles and of the period (1488-1505), 8 7/8 in. (22.4 cm.) diam. Estimate HKD 2,600,000 - HKD 3,800,000Price realised HKD 3,400,000 © Christie's Images Ltd 2013 

Finely potted with shallow rounded sides supported on a slightly splayed foot, the dish is decorated on the interior with a five-clawed dragon striding amidst stylised clouds, its head, scaly body and limbs incised, reserved on the biscuit and covered in green enamel, with claws and streamers enamelled over the glaze, all encircled by a green border repeated at the rim. The exterior is similarly decorated with a pair of green dragons racing through a sea of incised waves.

ProvenanceGeorge Eumorfopoulos (1863-1939)
Sold at Sotheby's London, 28-31 May 1940, lot 304
Peter Boode Antiques, London, 1945, purchased for 75 pounds
Raymond F.A. Riesco Collection, no. 213

LiteratureE.E. Bluett, Ming and Ch'ing Porcelains, London, 1933, pl. 15, no. 46
R.L. Hobson, Eumorfopoulos Collection, vol. 4, London, 1927, pl. 13, D70
E.E. Bluett, The Riesco Collection of Old Chinese Pottery and Porcelain, London, circa 1951, p. 18, fig. 20
London Borough of Croydon, Riesco Collection of Chinese Ceramics Handlist, Croydon, 1987, p. 8, no. 62 

NoteIncised green-enamelled dragon on a white background, which became popular during the Hongzhi and Zhengde reigns, originated in the Chenghua period. A fragment of a bowl decorated with this design was unearthed from the Chenghua stratum in Zhushan, Jingdezhen, illustrated in Ceramic Finds from Jingdezhen Kilns, Hong Kong, 1992, no. 246.

A Hongzhi-marked dish of similar size, on which the dragons on the exterior are divided by three cloud formations in green enamel, is in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, and illustrated in Porcelain of The National Palace Museum, Enamelled Ware of the Ming Dynasty, Book I, Hong Kong, 1966, p. 88, no. 5. Other similar examples are well published, compare to one illustrated by Adrian Joseph in Ming Porcelains: Their Origins and Development, London, 1971, p. 60, no. 63; another in the Baur Collection, illustrated by John Ayers in Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, Geneva, 1999, no. 67; and one in the British Museum, illustrated by Jessica Harrison-Hall in Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, pl. 7:17. All three examples are slightly smaller in size than the present dish, with diameter ranging between 18 -18.2 cm.

'Dragon' dish, Ming dynasty, Hongzhi mark and period (1488-1505) © 2017 Trustees of the British Museum

 'Dragon' dish, Ming dynasty, Hongzhi mark and period (1488-1505),  Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration. Height: 3.8 cm, Diameter: 18 cm. Bequeathed by Sir John M Addis, 1984,0202.1 © 2017 Trustees of the British Museum

The same design also appears on bowls of this period, compare to a bowl in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, ibid, no. 2; and another example illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 14, Tokyo, 1976, pls. 63 and 64.

Christie's. The R.F.A Riesco Collection of Important Chinese Ceramics, 27 November 2013, Hong Kong