Lot 2812. A fine and extremely rare early-Ming blue and white ‘lotus’ dish, Xuande six-character mark in underglaze blue in a line and of the period (1426-1435); 10 ¾ in. (27.6 cm.) diam. Estimate HKD 1,800,000 - HKD 2,500,000. Price realised HKD 3,725,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019
The dish is painted in deep cobalt tones in the interior with a lotus scroll in a central medallion with four blooms revolving around a central flower, the well with a similar scroll but with the flowers shown in profile, all within a narrow classic-scroll band below the rim, the reverse with a continuous chrysanthemum meander between a classic-scroll band around the foot and a key-fret band below the rim. The reign mark is written to one side between the floral scroll and the key-fret. The base is unglazed, box.
Provenance: Sam P. Williams
Sold at Christie’s New York, 9 November 1981, lot 114
Sold at Christie’s London, 9 June 1997, lot 63.
Literature: Anthony du Boulay, Christie’s Pictorial History of Chinese Ceramics, Oxford, 1984, p. 123, fig. 2
Note: Dishes of this pattern are very rarely marked. A very similar marked dish in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is illustrated by Sir H. Garner, Oriental Blue and White, London, 1954, no.16.
Ming blue and white dish, Xuande period (1426-1435). Porcelain, painted in underglaze blue. Diameter: 28 cm. Museum number: 1633-1876. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Unmarked dishes of this pattern are considerably more common, and are usually attributed to the Yongle period. Examples of this type are in museum and private collections worldwide, including two examples recorded by Alexander Pope, Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, Washington D.C., 1956, no. 29.118-119, one of which is illustrated on pl. 36 bottom right; two published in Helen D. Ling and E.T. Chow, Complete Collection of Ming Dynasty Kingtehchen Porcelain from the Hall of Disciplined Learning, Hong Kong, 1950, vol. I, pl. 28; and one from the Meiyintang Collection, sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 5 October 2011, lot 24.
Compare also to a group of Xuande-marked dishes of similar pattern but with some variations. These are painted with a related lotus scroll in the centre, which is composed of only five lotus blooms instead of six, with the central flowerhead shown in full-face, and below a composite floral scroll that is repeated on the exterior between a conjoined trefoil band below and a lingzhi scroll above. Examples from this group include one excavated at Zhushan in 1982 and published in Xuande Imperial Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Taipei, 1998, no. 92; and one sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30 May 2012, lot 3972.