A rare wucai lobed jar, Wanli six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1573-1619)

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Lot 601. A rare wucai lobed jar, Wanli six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1573-1619); 5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm.) wide. Estimate USD 30,000 - USD 50,000Price realised USD 56,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2018

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The molded sides are decorated with a continuous walled garden populated with cats variously shown seated on pedestals in front of screens, some peeking from behind screens, or shown alternating with dogs in the foreground, while two further dogs are shown seated and barking at yellow monkeys seen climbing bamboo, all below scrolling clouds and a band of foliate scroll at the rim, Japanese wood box, Japanese lacquer cover.

ProvenanceSotheby's New York, 20 March 2007, lot 758.
The Studio of the Clear Garden.

NoteA Wanli box of similar form is illustrated by J. Harrison-Hall in Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, p. 334, no. 11:153, where the author suggests that the unusual shape is probably based on contemporary boxes made of lacquer or silver. Another box of this form, but with figural decoration, in the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, is illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 14, Tokyo, 1976, pl. 263.

Lobed porcelain box and cover with underglaze blue, 'wucai'-style polychrome enamels and a silver knob, Ming dynasty, Wanli mark and period (1573-1620)

Lobed porcelain box and cover with underglaze blue, 'wucai'-style polychrome enamels and a silver knob, Ming dynasty, Wanli mark and period (1573-1620). Height: 13.2 cm. Diameter: 14.2 cm. Donated by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, Franks.1606 © 2017 Trustees of the British Museum

Christie's. The Studio of the Clear Garden: Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 22 March 2018, New York