Lot 3986. A fine and very rare blue and white reverse-decorated 'dragon' bowl, Jiajing six-character mark and of the period (1522-1566); 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm.) wide. Estimate 1,500,000 - HKD 2,000,000. Price realised HKD 2,180,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2012.
The well-potted bowl has deep upright sides, boldly decorated on the interior with a central dragon medallion encircled by double-line borders and interlocking scrolls and fruit-like sprigs, a wide band of continuously scrolling lingzhi at the rim beneath further double-line borders, all reserved against an inky-blue ground. The exterior is decorated with a frieze of two scaly dragons in pursuit of 'flaming pearls' amidst cloud and flame scrolls above a lappet collar encircling the foot ring washed in blue.
Provenance: The property of a gentleman, sold at Christie's London, 3 November 2009, lot 293.
Note: This unusual type of reverse decoration is a very distinctive technique of the Jiajing period. With the exception of only one other Jiajing-marked bowl of this size and decoration, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 19 November 1986, lot 212, no other bowl-form examples are known. Compare two other dishes similarly decorated with cranes in flight below a Shou (longevity) character: the first is in the Idemitsu Museum Collection illustrated in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, vol. II, Tokyo, 1987, no. 706; and another dish formerly in the Avery Brundage Collection, now in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, illustrated by He Li, Chinese Ceramics, A New Comprehensive Survey, 1996, no. 421, p. 244.
Christie's. The Imperial Sale, Hong Kong, 30 May 2012