An extremely rare gold-enamelled dish, mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735)

Lot 3602. An extremely rare gold-enamelled dish, mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 18.7 cm, 7 3/8  in. Estimate 1,800,000 — 2,500,000 HKD. Lot sold 2,250,000 HKD (286,673 USD). Courtesy Sotheby's 2018.

with shallow rounded sides resting on a short foot, richly covered overall save for the base with an even gold enamel, the white base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark within a double circle.

ProvenanceBluett & Sons Ltd, London (according to label).
Sotheby’s London, 6th June 1995, lot 244.
Sotheby's London, 15th May 2013, lot 169.

Note: The use of the colour gold on porcelain was revived during the Kangxi reign when new enamels were developed by the imperial kilns in his endeavour to revitalise porcelain production. Among these new enamels, gold was one of the most prized, possibly due to its association with the Daoist golden elixir of immortality (jindan). Vessels covered with this luxurious glaze required an initial high-temperature firing of the white-glazed body, followed by a layer of gold powder brushed evenly on the surface, before a second firing at a lower temperature. Despite its difficulty in production, gold-enamelled vessels continued to be produced in the Yongzheng period with much delicacy, resulting in finer yet rarer pieces, such as the present dish.

A closely related dish, but of slightly smaller size, from the collection of Ralph and Irene Beacon, was sold in our New York rooms, 3rd December 1986, lot 267. Gold-enamelled vessels, with Yongzheng marks and of the period, include a bowl sold in these rooms, 20th May 1987, lot 500; another sold in our London rooms, 5th November 2014, lot 14; a pair sold twice in these rooms, 16th November 1988, lot 331, and again, 28th April 1992, lot 79; and a cup in the Sir Percival David collection and now in the British Museum, London, published in Margaret Medley, Illustrated Catalogue of Ming and Qing Monochrome Wares, London, 1989, pl. B598. An unmarked pair of bowls, in the Meiyintang collection, is illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 2, London, 1994, pl. 949. Compare also a vase, decorated with five dragons rendered in famille-rose enamels against a gold ground, with a Yongzheng reign mark and of the period, sold in our New York rooms, 20th February 1975, lot 292, and again in our London rooms, 7th November 2012, lot 101.

A rare gold-enamelled bowl, Yongzheng mark and period (1723-1735); 11.4cm., 4 1/2 in. Sold for 25,000 GBP at Sotheby's London, 5th November 2014, lot 14. Courtesy Sotheby's 2014

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A rare gold-enamelled bowl, Yongzheng mark and period (1723-1735); 11.4cm., 4 1/2 in. Sold for 25,000 GBP at Sotheby's London, 5th November 2014, lot 14. Courtesy Sotheby's 2014

the rounded sides rising from a short straight foot, covered inside and out with a rich gold enamel, the base inscribed with the six-character reign mark in underglaze blue.

Provenance: Acquired by the parents of the present owners in the UK in the early 20th century.

Bowls of this type include a slightly smaller example sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 20th May 1987, lot 500; a pair sold twice in our Hong Kong rooms, 16th November 1988, lot 331, and again, 28th April 1992, lot 79; and a cup in the Sir Percival David collection and now in the British Museum, London, published in Margaret Medley, Illustrated Catalogue of Ming and Qing Monochrome Wares, London, 1989, pl. no. B598. An unmarked pair of bowls, in the Meiyintang collection, is illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 2, London, 1994, pl. 949.

Gilt-decorated porcelain is known from as early as the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and flourished into a monochrome glaze in the early Ming dynasty (1364-1644); see a stembowl, in the collection of the Yomei Bunko, Tokyo, illustrated in Sekai toji zenshu [Ceramic art of the world], vol. 11, Tokyo, 1955, pl. 95. The use of gold was revived during the Kangxi reign (1661-1722), and was particularly popular for its luxuriousness during the Yongzheng period.

Cup with gold glaze, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng mark and period, AD 1723–1735, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue mark, transparent and gold glazes, 3,6 x 6 cm. Sir Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, PDF B598 © 2017 Tru

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Cup with gold glaze, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng mark and period, AD 1723–1735, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue mark, transparent and gold glazes, 3,6 x 6 cm. Sir Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, PDF B598 © 2017 Trustees of the British Museum

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 A Rare Gold-Ground 'Famille-Rose' Vase, Yongzheng Mark (1723-1735); 17.2cm., 6 3/4 in. Sold for 97,250 GBP at Sotheby's London, 7th November 2012, lot 101. Courtesy Sotheby's 2012.

Cf. my post: A Rare Gold-Ground 'Famille-Rose' Vase, Yongzheng Mark (1723-1735)

Gilt-decorated porcelain is known from as early as the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) and flourished into a monochrome glaze in the early Ming dynasty (1364-1644); see a stem bowl, in the collection of the Yomei Bunko, Tokyo, illustrated in Sekai toji zenshu [Ceramic art of the world], vol. 11, Tokyo, 1955, pl. 95.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 03 Apr 2018.