A blue and white cushion-form box and cover, Wanli six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1573-1619)

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Lot 736. A blue and white cushion-form box and cover, Wanli six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1573-1619), 6 1/8 in. (15.5 cm.) wide. Estimate USD 30,000 - USD 40,000. Price realised USD 106,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2017

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The box and cover are of square form with canted corners. The cover is decorated with a five-clawed dragon holding a flaming pearl above its head amidst clouds and flames, and within a border of two striding dragons separated by foaming waves and rocks above a band of key fret at the rim. The box is decorated en suite with two dragons beneath a key-fret band below the rim.

ProvenancePrivate collection, Sweden, before 1948.

NoteA similar Wanli-marked box and cover is illustrated by J. Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2015, pp. 323-24, no. 11:129, where the author notes that such boxes were probably used as a container for a gift of sweetmeats.

Quatrefoil porcelain box and cover with underglaze blue decoration, Ming dynasty, Wanli mark and period (1573-1619)

Quatrefoil porcelain box and cover with underglaze blue decoration, Ming dynasty, Wanli mark and period (1573-1619). Length: 15.5 cm, Width: 13.5 cm, Height: 7 cm. Bequeathed by Henry J Oppenheim, 1947,0712.221.a-b © The Trustees of the British Museum

Two Wanli mark-and-period rectangular boxes and covers in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, one decorated with boys at play on the cover and dragons on the sides, the other with dragons in the center of the cover and peach trees on the sides, are illustrated in Blue-and-White Ware of the Ming Dynasty Book VI, Hong Kong, 1963, pp. 42-5, pls. 7 and 8 respectively.

Christie's. Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art, 14 September 2017, New York