Lot 3975. A fine and rare early Ming blue and white 'Lotus bouquet' dish, Yongle period (1403-1424); 15 in. (38 cm.) diam. Estimate 4,000,000 - HKD 6,000,000. Price realised HKD 4,220,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2012.
The dish is painted in strong tones on the interior with a bouquet of lotus flowers, seed pod and leaves, and other aquatic plants tied together with a fluttering ribbon, encircled by three concentric rings and a composite floral scroll around the cavetto below a wave band. The exterior is decorated with a further floral scroll between classic scrolls at the rim and a keyfret band above the foot, the cobalt with extensive 'heaping and piling'. The base is unglazed, box.
Provenance: J.M. Hu
A Japanese private collection, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 November 2007, lot 1735.
Note: This dish is often referred to as a 'bouquet' dish and belongs to an important group of early Ming blue and white wares together with 'grape' dishes, 'melon' dishes and 'dragon' dishes. For a discussion on the thirty-four 'bouquet' dishes of varying sizes and with varying borders in the Ardebil Collection, showing the wide range of intensity of the cobalt within the dishes and the diversity of decoration, albeit based on a master pattern, see J.A. Pope, Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, 1981, p. 92.
A smaller dish of the same design from the Shanghai Museum is illustrated in Underglaze Blue and Red, 1987, no. 135; another from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Blue and White Ware of the Ming Dynasty, Book II, part 2, Hong Kong, 1963, pl. 38, included in the Special Exhibition of Early Ming Period Porcelain, Catalogue nos. 39 and 41; a third is illustrated in Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum Istanbul, vol. II, no. 10; another from the T.Y. Chao Collection was included in the Hong Kong Oriental Ceramic Society Exhibition, 1975, Chinese Blue and White Porcelain, Catalogue, no.8; and a further example from the is illustrated in Chinese Porcelain, The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, part I, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1987, pl. 10.
Christie's. The Imperial Sale, Hong Kong, 30 May 2012