A fine and rare wucai brush handle, Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573-1620)

Lot 38. A fine and rare wucai brush handle, Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573-1620)18.5 cm., 7 1/4 inEstimate 2,500,000 — 3,000,000Lot Sold 5,420,000 HKD (310,922 USD). Photo Sotheby's. 

the bulblous body with a long cylindrical handle surmounted with a pointed knop, the sides painted with two dragons, one blue and one red, both in pursuit of a 'flaming pearl' amidst scattered scrolling clouds above crashing waves and tall rocks on the rim, all below a band of underglaze-blue ruyi-heads and a row of scrolling clouds, the top painted with four floral sprays surrounding the knop further decorated with a single floret

Provenance: Collection of Dr. Carl Kempe (1884-1967).
Eskenazi Ltd., London, 1993.

ExhibitedChinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, The British Museum, London, 1994.
Evolution to Perfection. Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection/Evolution vers la perfection. Céramiques de Chine de la Collection Meiyintang, Sporting d'Hiver, Monte Carlo, 1996, cat. no. 135.

LiteratureBo Gyllensvärd, Chinese Ceramics in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1964, no. 852.
Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 2, no. 708.

NoteWucai brush handles are extremely rare. A related piece of Wanli mark and period in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, is published in Minji meihin zuroku. Kaiseiyō, Ryukeiyō, Manrekiyō [Illustrated catalogue of important Ming porcelains. Jiajing, Longqing and Wanli wares], Tokyo, 1978, pl. 109; and two unmarked blue-and-white brush handles of similar shape and date are in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in Lu Minghua, Shanghai Bowuguan zangpin yanjiu daxi/Studies of the Shanghai Museum Collections : A Series of Monographs. Mingdai guanyao ciqi [Ming imperial porcelain], Shanghai, 2007, pls. 1-87 and 1-88.

Sotheby's. The Meiyintang Collection, Part II - An Important Selection of Chinese Porcelains, Hong Kong, 5 october 2011