Lot 3043. A fine large yellow and green 'Eight Buddhist Emblems' dish, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 41.4 cm., 16 1/4 in. Estimate 3,500,000 — 4,500,000 HKD. Lot sold 4,840,000 HKD. Courtesy Sotheby's 2013.
well potted, the shallow rounded sides rising from a tapered foot to a broad everted rim, deftly incised and enamelled in green and aubergine reserved on a bright ochre-yellow ground, the recessed interior with a central shou medallion within a ruyi-border, wreathed by five alternating bats and lotus blossoms among foliate scrolls with attendant buds and enclosed within billows of clouds, further encircled around the cavetto by detached beribboned lotus sprays supporting the 'Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism' (Bajixiang), all below eight shou medallion flanked by stylised chilong confronted in pairs within a beaded rim, the underside with three alternating fruiting branches of peach and pairs of bats, the glazed base left white and inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character seal mark.
Provenance: Sotheby's New York, 6th December 1989, lot 217.
Collection of the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo (by repute).
Christie's Hong Kong, 29th April 2001, lot 543.
Note: The present magnificent dish painted with powerfully contrasting palette of yellow, green and aubergine enamels is a rare example of a type most likely inspired by Kangxi dishes of this very large size and of similar colour scheme but decorated with dragons such as the piece included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Ch’ing Dynasty Porcelain in the National Palace Museum, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1980, pl. 34.
The three colours belong to the famille-verte palette of enamels and together with white formed the basic colours of Kangxi biscuit wares. Suzanne G. Valenstein in A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, p. 236, notes that the above mentioned glazes were also ‘washed over engraved designs of flowers or dragons on grounds of contrasting colours. Again, they can be daubed in variegated patterns, including the motley of colours given fanciful names such as “tiger-skin”, “leopard-skin” and “egg-and-spinach”. After the Kangxi period, the famille-verte palette of enamels lost much of its populatiry, however, it did continue in minor use during subsequent reigns.’ This Qianlong dish, therefore, belongs to a very special small group of wares that reveal the emperor’s fondness for copying and reproducing past designs and glazes.
Another similar Qianlong mark and period dish is illustrated in John Ayers, The Baur Collection, vol. 4, Geneva, 1974, pl. A545; a third example was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 25th October 1993, lot 824, and again, in these rooms, 23rd October 2005, lot 209; and a fourth dish of this type was sold in our New York rooms, 28th September 1979, lot 313.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 08 april 2013