A rare large blue and yellow 'lotus bouquet' dish, mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735)

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Lot 74. A rare large blue and yellow 'lotus bouquet' dish, mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 40 cm., 15 3/4 in. Estimate 3,000,000 - 5,000,000 HKD. Lot sold 7,820,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's 2011.

with rounded sides, painted in underglaze blue in early Ming style with a large lotus bouquet with flowering stems, leaves, a pod and other water plants tied with a ribbon, the sides with a composite flower scroll incorporating chrysanthemum, lotus, hibiscus, rose, peony, camellia and other blooms with a classic-scroll rim border, the flower scroll repeated on the outside with key-fret below the rim and a classic scroll around the foot, all reserved on a bright lemon-yellow ground and the narrow borders inside and out highlighted in green enamel, the base remaining white and inscribed with the six-character reign mark in a double ring.

Provenance: Christie's New York, 2nd December 1986, lot 206.

Literature: Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 2, no. 762.

Note: Both the lotus-bouquet design of this dish and the yellow and blue colour scheme are borrowed from early Ming prototypes that were developed at the Jingdezhen imperial kilns in the Yongle and Xuande periods. The combination is, however, not known from the Ming period and the addition of thin bands of pale green is also a surprising innovation of the Qing dynasty potters. In the Yongzheng and Qianlong reigns this design was produced in various dimensions, the present dish being of the largest size, of which only two others appear to have been sold at auction, one in our London rooms 2nd March 1971, lot 190, the other at Christie's London, 10th July 1978, lot 47. A similar, only slightly smaller dish is illustrated in John Ayers, Chinese Ceramics. The Koger Collection, London, 1985, pl. 122.

For the blue and white Yongle prototypes compare two dishes also in the Meiyintang collection, illustrated in Krahl, op.cit., vol. 2, nos 665 and 666, and for a smaller yellow and blue dish of this design of Qianlong mark and period, ibid., no. 763.

Sotheby's. The Meiyintang Collection - An Important Selection of Imperial Chinese Porcelains, Hong Kong, 07 Apr 2011