Lot 1313. A fine and superb early Ming blue and white 'grapes' dish, Yongle period (1426-1435)14¾ in. (37.7cm.) diamEstimate HKD 4,800,000 - HKD 5,800,000. Price Realized HKD 6,952,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2006.

Sturdily potted with shallow, gently rounded sides rising to an angled everted rim, painted in particularly vivid graduated tones of underglaze-blue with three clusters of grapes suspended from slender branches bearing coiling tendrils and broad leaves, all enclosed within a double circle, the cavetto encircled by a continuous composite floral scroll, repeated with slight variations to the exterior, with twelve blooms including lotus, camellia, lily, aster, chrysanthemum, gardenia, morning glory and lingzhi on an undulating leafy stem, the flattened rim with a border of crested waves, the smooth unglazed base burnt slightly orange, the purplish blue cobalt with characteristic 'heaping and piling' effect and the glaze with an even soft blue tinge, box. 

Exhibited: Christie's London, An Exhibition of Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, 2-14 June 1993, Catalogue no. 10. 

Note: Previously sold in our London Rooms, 14 July 1982, lot 196.

Cf. similar examples including one in the Exhibition of Blue and White Wares, Shanghai Museum, Catalogue no. 24; a dish formerly in the Gustav VI Adolf Collection, and now in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, Kodansha series, vol. 9, Tokyo, 1976, pl. 216; an example in the Percival David Foundation, London, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, Kodansha series, vol. 6, Tokyo, 1982, pl. 74; one from the T. Y. Chao and R. E. R. Luff collections exhibited at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Ming and Ching Porcelain in the Collection of the T.Y. Chao Family Foundation, illustrated in the Catalogue, 1978, no. 3; another illustrated in Selected Masterpieces from the Manno Collection, Japan, 1988, pl. 109; and several examples in Middle Eastern collections including one illustrated by T. Misugi, Chinese Porcelain Collections in the Near East, Topkapi and Ardebil, vol. 3, Hong Kong, 1981, pl. A.41; another from the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul, illustrated by Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, vol. 2, London, 1986, no. 606; and five examples in the Ardebil Shrine Collection, one of which is illustrated by John Alexander Pope, Chinese Ceramics from the Ardebil Shrine, Washington, 1956, pl. 38 29.52.

A number of related bracket-lobed examples have also been recorded including one illustrated by Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, pl. 3:36, where the author mentions that this grape dish pattern became the most influential design model for Iznik potters making blue and white wares in the 1530s and 1540s; one published in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Japan, 1987, no. 165; and another in the Museum Pusat, Jakarta, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, Kodansha series, vol. 3, Tokyo, 1982, col. pl. 27.

Christie's. Imperial Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection - Jade Shears and Shimmering Feathers, Hong Kong, 28 November 2006