Lot 601. A pair of blue and white 'dragon' dishes, Qianlong seal marks and period (1736-1795)Diameter 6 7/8  in., 17.3 cmEstimate 15,000 — 25,000 USD. Lot sold 27,500 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.

each with shallow rounded sides resting on a gently tapering foot, the exterior painted with nine dragons in various poses, one frontal and eight in profile, all against cresting waves and below a band of interlocking coins, the interior painted with a medallion enclosing a sinuous scaly dragon against further waves, the base with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue (2)

Provenance: Frank Crane, The Hundred Antiques, Toronto, 1960s-1980s, and thence by descent.

Note: For a mid-late 15th century Ming dynasty prototype of this design, see one illustrated in Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, New York, 1981, p. 77. Compare one sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 16th November 1988, lot 197; and a pair sold at Christie's London, 14th November 2003, lot 187. Dragons on dishes of this type are also frequently found enameled in iron red, see a pair from the E. T. Chow Collection sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 19th May 1981, lot 534, and another illustrated in George J. Lee, Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1970, pl. 383. 

Sotheby's Important Chinese Art, New York, 11 september 2019