Lot 85. An extremely rare white metal-mounted blue and white 'A-Borrag' apothecary bottle; the porcelain late Ming dynasty, the mount later; 29.3cm., 11 1/2 in. Estimate 5,000 — 7,000 GBP. Lot sold 25,200 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's 2007
after a majolica original, the ovoid body rising from a recessed base to a tall narrow ribbed neck, painted to the front and back face with an elaborate cartouche enclosing a rectangular panel inscribed 'A-BORRAG', reserved on a leafy floral strapwork ground, all below a floral scroll collar and stiff plantain leaf band at the neck.
Provenance: Christie's London, 23rd June 1975, lot 54.
Literature: Anthony du Boulay, Christie's Pictorial History of Chinese Ceramics, London, p.193, pl.10.
Note: A related apothecary jar was sold in these rooms, 16th May 1995, lot 11; and another, from the Mottahedeh collection, was sold in our New York rooms, 19th October 2000, lot 80. The inscription 'A. Borrag' stands for 'Aqua de Borago' indicating the use of this vessel as a container for burrage water. Burrage, also known as 'star flower' or 'bee plant' was known for its medicinal properties, especially for treating cold and flu.