A very rare pair of small iron-red decorated blue and white dishes, Jiajing iron-red six-character marks within double-circles and of the period (1522-1566)

Lot 1316. A very rare pair of small iron-red decorated blue and white dishes, Jiajing iron-red six-character marks within double-circles and of the period (1522-1566); 4 5/8 in. (11.8 cm.) diamEstimate USD 25,000 - USD 35,000. Price realised USD 32,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013 

The small dishes are of shallow form resting on a short foot. The dishes are finely decorated in iron-red of rich reddish-brown tone with a central roundel of four ducks swimming amidst lotus sprays and waterweeds, repeated as a frieze on the shallow sides above and on the exterior, all reserved on a blue-wash ground, as is the reign mark on the base, cloth box.

Provenance: J.M. Hu Collection.

NoteAlthough a lot of experimentation took place with different color combinations during the Jiajing period, the visually very pleasing combination of underglaze blue and iron-red is surprisingly rare and few extant examples are recorded. Compare with a single Jiajing-marked dish decorated in the same palette with Buddhist lions sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 May 2012, lot 4064. Compare, also, a jar sold at Christie's New York, 19th September 2006, lot 253, decorated in a similar technique with the underglaze blue serving as the background to the decoration which, in this case, was left white. The reserved reign mark on the jar bears a very close resemblance to the marks on the present dishes. Another Jiajing dish decorated with iron-red dragons on an underglaze blue ground, is illustrated in Porcelains from the Tianjin Municipal Museum, Hong Kong, 1993, no. 117.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of ArtNew York, 19 - 20 September 2013