Lot 1533. A fine famille verte 'dragon and phoenix' dish, Kangxi six-character mark within double-circles and of the period (1662-1722); 9 7/8 in. (25.1 cm.) diamEstimate HKD 700,000 - HKD 900,000. Price realised HKD 1,440,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2006

Well painted on the interior in underglaze-blue and enamelled in vibrant tones of green, iron-red, yellow and aubergine, with a pair of five-clawed dragons and a pair of phoenixes arranged around a central peony blossom amidst other scattered flowers and buds growing from leafy stems, the inner and outer sides with similar designs of striding dragons and phoenixes in flight amidst further blossoms and foliage, all within double-line borders

Provenance: A Japanese private collection.

Exhibited: S. Marchant & Son, Recent Acquisitions, London, 2003, Catalogue no. 5

NoteKangxi-marked dishes of this design include one illustrated by J. Ayers, Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1980, no. 192; one illustrated in Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 133; one from the Chang Foundation, Taiwan, illustrated in Selected Chinese Ceramics from Han to Qing Dynasties, Taipei, 1990, pl. 122; and another illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art, Chinese Ceramics IV, Hong Kong, 1991, no. 98, where Yang Boda mentions in his introduction to the collection that the dish is an excellent example of Imperial wucai tableware, p. 61. Similar examples were sold in these Rooms, 27 April 1997, lot 788; and in our New York Rooms, 30 March 2005, lot 404.

Cf. also the possible prototype to these Kangxi dishes, a famille verte dragon and phoenix dish with Wanli mark, such as the example from the Rogers Fund, Metropolitan Museum of Art, illustrated by S. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, pl. 185, which is designed with a dragon and phoenix in the centre amidst floral scrolls and pairs around the cavetto and exterior.

The representations of dragons and phoenix are motifs emblematic of the Emperor and the Empress.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, Hong Kong, 28 November 2006