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Lot 315. A Rare Blue and White Ingot-Shaped ‘Dragon’ Box and Cover, Mark and period of Wanli (1573-1620). 21.6 cm, 8 1/2  in. Estimate: HK$400,000 - 600,000/US$51,000 - 77,000. Lot sold 2,500,000 HKD (268,697 EUR). Courtesy Sotheby's

powerfully painted in vivid shades of cobalt blue, the domed cover painted with a pair of confronting five-clawed dragons writhing amongst flames and cloud scrolls contesting a flaming pearl, the rounded sides of both the box and cover similarly decorated with further dragons striding amongst clouds, encircled at the rims with chevron bands, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark, wood stand.

ProvenanceSotheby's Hong Kong, 20th May 1981, lot 695.
Collection of T.Y. Chao (1912-1999), and thence by descent in the family.

NoteThe form of the present box, modelled after ingots, is highly unusual. The production of wares of this shape began in the Jiajing period (1522-1566) and continued in the Wanli reign (1573-1620), but extant examples are relatively rare.

See a closely related covered box, in the Musée Guimet, Paris, illustrated in Daisy Lion-Goldschmidt, Ming Porcelain, Fribourg, 1978, pl. 213; one in the Baur Collection, published in John Ayers, The Baur Collection. Chinese Ceramics, vol. 2, Geneva, 1969, pl. A187; another included in the China Institute in America Exhibition of Chinese Art from the Newark Museum, China Institute in America, New York, 1980, cat. no. 26. See also an example sold in our London rooms, 12th May 2010, lot 12 and another at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th May 2007, lot 1458. 

A blue and white ingot-shaped box and cover, Wanli mark and period

A blue and white ingot-shaped box and cover, Wanli mark and period. 22cm., 8 5/8 inSold for 61,250 GBP at Sotheby's London, 12th May 2010, lot 12photo Sotheby's

Cf. my post: Ming dynasty blue and white porcelains at Sotheby's London, Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, 12 May 2010

A rare late Ming blue and white ingot-shaped box and cover, Wanli six-character mark and of the period (1573-1619)

A rare late Ming blue and white ingot-shaped box and cover, Wanli six-character mark and of the period (1573-1619). 8 5/8 in. (22 cm.) long. Sold for 312,000 HKD at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th May 2007, lot 1458. © Christies Images Ltd 2007

Sotheby's. Chinese Art including Selected Works of Art from the T.Y. Chao Family Collection, Hong Kong, 30 Nov 2017, 02:00 PM