Chinese porcelain famille verte saucer dish, Kangxi, circa 1670

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Chinese porcelain famille verte saucer dish, Kangxi mark and period, circa 1670. 13 ¼ inches, 33.7 cm diameter. © Marchant

Chinese porcelain famille verte saucer dish with gently flared rim, painted in the centre with the bearded equestrian warrior Zhang Fei of dark complexion holding a spear while riding a black enamelled horse beside his bannerman, surrounded by four other equestrian warriors including the confronting Zhang He with a standing general behind rockwork and the General Wei Yan in an encampment in the distance indicated by halberds and spears, all amongst rockwork and plants with an iron-red cloudbank dividing the distance, the underside with a channel foot rim. The base with a six-character mark of Chenghua within a double ring in underglaze blue.

• From an old Hong Kong private family collection.

• The scene is taken from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a Han Dynasty story written in the Ming Dynasty. In this scene, Zhang Fei is ambushed and surrounded by Zhang He at the Wakou Pass but his compatriot together with Zhang Fei knew that they would be ambushed, so General Wei Yan directed another army to attack and defeat Zhang He and his forces.

• This dish forms part of a painterly group which have no borders. The translucent enamels and channel foot rim confirm an early Kangxi date.

• A similar dish also without a border, where the central subject appears to be surrounded is illustrated by Ryoichi Fujioka in Collection of World’s Ceramics Vol. 12, China, Ch’ing Dynasty, pl. 34; another famille verte dish, also with a channel foot rim painted with a central warrior of similar appearance, described as “The story of the Generals from The Yang Family” is illustrated by Wang Qingzheng in Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, no. 120, pp 182-183.

Condition: Tiny frits and minute nibbles

Price on request at MARCHANT