Lot 162. A rare ruby-ground famille-rose sgraffiato ‘medallion’ bowl, Daoguang seal mark and period (1821-1850). Diameter 6 in., 15.2 cm. Estimate: 20,000 — 30,000 USD. Lot sold 40,000 USD. © Sotheby's.
the deep rounded sides supported on a narrow straight foot rising to a gently everted rim, the exterior finely enameled with four circular reserves enclosing 'antiques', flowers, millet and lanterns between stylized floral sprays, all against a deftly incised sgraffiato ruby ground, the interior painted in underglaze blue with four beribboned lanterns at the cavetto and a central medallion radiating butterfly and foliate sprays, the base with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.
Provenance: Acquired in China during the first half of the 20th century, and thence by descent.
Note: A bowl of this type is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Porcelains with Cloisonné Enamel Decoration and Famille-Rose Decoration, vol. 39, Hong Kong, 1999, cat. no. 216, where the author states that the depiction of lanterns, antiques and stems of millet conveys auspicious rebuses such as 'abundant grain harvest' (wu gu feng deng), 'peace all year round (si ji pingan), and 'may you have a surplus of good luck' (ji qing you yu).
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 12 sept. 2018, 10:30 AM