Lot 3985. A rare late Ming yellow-ground green-enamelled incised 'Daoist figures' bowl, Jiajing six-character mark and of the period (1522-1566); 6 1/2 in. (16.6 cm.) diam. Estimate 900,000 - HKD 1,200,000. Price realised HKD 1,340,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2012.
The bowl is finely potted with rounded sides rising to a flared rim, the exterior incised and enamelled in a bright green against a yellow ground, with four Daoist figures holding their attributes dancing in a balustraded garden beneath pine trees. The interior is decorated with an incised lingzhi scroll within a medallion.
Provenance: Carl Kempe Collection
Sold at Sotheby's Paris, 12 June 2008, lot 4.
Literature: Bo Gyllensvard, Chinese Ceramics in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1964, pl. 842.
Chinese Ceramic Treasures, a Selection from the Ulricehamn East Asian Museum, Including The Carl Kempe Collection, The Museum of Art and Far Eastern Antiquities in Ulricehamn, Ulricehamn, 2002, p. 312, no. 1023.
Note: The choice of motifs on this bowl is in keeping with Emperor Jiajing's keen interest in Daoism and the attainment of immortality. The botanical motifs of the lingzhi fungus symbolise immortality and allude to longevity.
This bowl is rare, only a few other examples in museums and private collections are known. One in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Enamelled Ware of The Ming Dynasty II, Hong Kong, 1966, pl. 7; one in the Percival David Foundation, now in British Museum is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections Kodansha Series, vol. 6, Japan, 1982, pl. 42; one in the Tokyo National Museum, ibid., pl. 74; and another one in the Baur Collection, Geneva, illustrated in John Ayers, The Baur Collection, vol. II, Geneva, 1969, pl. A166.
Christie's. The Imperial Sale, Hong Kong, 30 May 2012