A rare reverse-decorated blue and white 'Fish pond' bowl, Yongzheng six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double blue circle and of the period (1723-1735)

Lot 301. A rare reverse-decorated blue and white 'Fish pond' bowl, Yongzheng six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double blue circle and of the period (1723-1735); 6 7/8 in. (17.1 cm.) diam. Estimate GBP 80,000 - GBP 120,000 (USD 104,400 - USD 156,600). © Christie's Images Ltd 2019

The bowl is decorated in white slip to the exterior with four fish swimming amongst water weeds and lotus plants, with the scales of the fish and veins of the plants finely incised, all above a double line border. The decoration is all reserved against a rich, dark blue ground.

Note: The design, technique and form of this bowl takes its inspiration from Yuan and early Ming dynasty blue and white porcelain. The technique of using raised, slip-decorated designs in white against a dark blue ground was developed in the Yuan dynasty and gained popularity in the Xuande period where it was used with greater frequency on a variety of vessel forms. 

A similar Yongzheng-marked bowl and cover of this design from the collection of George de Menasce, was included in the exhibition Arts of the Ch'ing DynastyT.O.C.S., vol. 35, 1963-64, pl. 46, no. 116. A similar Yongzheng-marked bowl, but without the cover, from the Grandidier Collection, and now in the Musée Guimet, Paris, is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, vol. 7, Tokyo, 1981, no. 166. A comparable bowl is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Qing Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Reigns, Nanjing Museum and the Art Gallery, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1995, gifted by the B.Y.Lam Foundation, no.46. A Yongzheng-marked bowl and cover of this form, but completely covered on the exterior in underglaze blue and lacking the white-slip decoration, was sold in our London rooms, 18 June 2002, lot 69. A comparable bowl and cover with slip decoration sold at Christie's New York on 13-14 September 2012, lot 1466. 

Christie's Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, London, 14 May 2019