Lot 3001. A rare Longquan celadon carved ‘lychee’ dish, Yongle period (1403-1425); 13 1/4 (33.6 cm.) diam. Estimate HKD 600,000 - HKD 800,000 (USD 76,968 - USD 102,623). Price realised HKD 2,125,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019
The centre of the dish is finely carved with a fruiting lychee spray surrounded by a floral scroll alternately bearing lotus and peach blooms in the cavetto and a narrow classic scroll beneath the mouth. The exterior is carved with a composite floral scroll. The dish is covered overall under an olive-green glaze with the exception of a ring exposing the body on the base, Japanese wood box.
Provenance: A private collection, Okayama, Japan.
Note: The current dish was probably made at the kilns at Chuzhou, Zhejiang province, which produced ceramics for the imperial court in the early Ming dynasty. Sherds of dishes with similar carved design have been excavated at the imperial kilns at Chuzhou, see for example a barbed-rim charger carved with lychee design to the centre illustrated in Da Ming Chuzhou Longquan guanyao, Hangzhou, 2005, p. 242, no. 20, opposite to an heirloom charger of the same design in the Topkapi Saray Museum, p. 243, no. 21.
The design of the current dish is closely related to that found on an underglaze blue example excavated from the Yongle stratum from the Ming Imperial kiln site at Zhushan, Jingdezhen, see Imperial Hongwu and Yongle Porcelain excavated at Jingdezhen, Taipei, 1996, pp. 154-155, no. 45 (fig. 1). This parallel production at two sites, each working with different clays and different glazes, appears to have provided both kiln sites with inspiration and healthy competition.
fig. 1. An underglaze blue dish excavated from the Yongle stratum from the Ming Imperial kiln site at Zhushan, Jingdezhen.
For a nearly identical example, compare to the dish from the J.T. Tai collection, sold at Sotheby’s New York, 22 March 2011, lot 86.
From the J.T. Tai collection. An Imperial Longquan celadon dish, Ming Dynasty, Yongle period (1403-1424); diameter 12 3/4 in., 32.4 cm. Lot Sold 398,500 USD at Sotheby’s New York, 22 March 2011, lot 86. photo Sotheby's.