A dated blue and white 'Dragon' censer, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, dated 1704

Lot 69. A dated blue and white 'Dragon' censer, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, dated 1704; 25cm., 9 7/8 in. Estimate 6,000 — 9,000 GBP. Lot sold 7,200 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's 2007

the body of compressed globular form rising from a short spreading foot to a flaring mouth, painted around the exterior in vivid cobalt-blue tones with a dedicatory panel flanked by two large ferocious scaly dragons.

ProvenanceChristie's London, 11th December 1989, lot 166.
Spink & Sons, Ltd. London, circa 1992.

NoteThe inscription on the present censer can be translated as follows:

Zhang Yuanwu from Li with respect dedicates this censer to be placed in front of the Bodhisattva in the Mingjian Temple to protect the whole family and to help them fulfil all their wishes.
This dedication was made in the first month of Winter of the jiasheng year (equivalent to A.D.1704).

Compare a related censer, painted with mythical beasts and with a dedicatory inscription, illustrated in Qing Shunzhi Kangxi qiao qinghua ci, vol.1, Beijing, 2005, pl. 25, together with another censer of this form decorated with flora and fauna, pl. 26, both from the Palace Museum collection. Another censer of this type with an inscription dated to the yihai year (equivalent to A.D.1695.) is published in Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum, Hong Kong, 1998, pl. 65.

A censer of slightly different proportions decorated with mythical creatures, from the Shanghai Museum, was included in the exhibition Seventeenth Century Jingdezhen Porcelain from the Shanghai Museum and the Butler Collections, Shanghai Museum, 2006, p. 108, cat.no. 22, where it is noted that 'the overall shape of this censer is not that different from other blue-and-white censers from the late Ming and early Qing periods.' 

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, London, 16 May 2007