A very rare wucai 'Six-dragon', dish, Longqing six-character mark and of the period (1567-1572)



Lot 118. A very rare wucai 'Six-dragon', dish, Longqing six-character mark and of the period (1567-1572); 33cm (13in) diam. Estimate £ 15,000 - 20,000 (€ 17,000 - 22,000). Sold for £ 52,500 (€ 60,308). © Bonhams.

The shallow rounded sides supported on a tapered foot, the interior decorated with a medallion enclosing two five-clawed dragons writhing sinuously amid ruyi-shaped clouds and flames in mutual pursuit of a blue 'flaming pearl' in the centre, one dragon with an underglaze-blue body and an iron-red serrated spine and the other decorated in reverse, an iron-red double line bordering the medallion and rim, the exterior similarly decorated with four further striding five-clawed dragons in red, blue, yellow and green.

Provenance: a European private collection, and thence by descent.

NoteGiven the short six-year reign of the Longqing emperor, it is very rare to find pieces specifically dated to this period. Those that do survive are often similar in style to those of the late Jiajing and early Wanli periods.

Wucai enamelled ware, as in the present lot, was particularly popular at the Longqing emperor's Court, and examples are now included in important museum and private collections. See for example a very similar dish illustrated by J.Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, no.10:8. Another example is illustrated in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1987, no.200. A third example in the Percival David Collection, now in the British Museum, London, is illustrated by R.Scott and R.Kerr, Ceramic Evolution in the Middle Ming Period: Hongzhi to Wanli (1488-1620), Singapore, 1994, no.20.

with dragons chasing flaming pearls, Ming dynasty, Longqing mark and period, AD 1567–72

Dish with dragons chasing flaming pearls, Ming dynasty, Longqing mark and period, AD 1567–72. Porcelain with wucai enamels (underglaze blue and overglaze red, yellow, green and aubergine), Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. H x D: 6 x 33,1 cm. On loan from Sir Percival David Foundation, PDF.798© Trustees of the British Museum.

Compare with a similar 'dragon' dish, Longqing mark and of the period, which was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2014, lot 3105



A Rare Wucai 'Dragon' Dish, Mark and Period of Longqing (1567-1572); ; 34 cm., 13 3/8 in. Sold  for 1,360,000  HKD at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2014, lot 3105Photo Sotheby's.

Cf. my post: A rare wucai 'Dragon' dish, Mark and period of Longqing