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Lot 3114. A wucai 'Dragon and Phoenix' dish, mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 20.1 cm, 7 7/8  inEstimate 800,000 — 1,000,000 HKD. Lot sold 875,000 HKD. Courtesy Sotheby's

the shallow rounded sides rising from a tapered foot to a gilt everted rim, the centre of interior depicting a green-enamelled five-clawed writhing dragon reaching for a flaming pearl amidst iron-red flames and doucai ruyi-head cloud scrolls, encircled by a border of five striding dragons pursuing flaming pearls beneath the gilt rim, the exterior vividly enamelled with four phoenix in flight interspersed with ruyi clouds, the base with a six-character reign mark in three vertical columns within a double circle.

ProvenanceSotheby's Hong Kong, 13th May 1976, lot 343.
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 30th April 1991, lot 101.
Sotheby's London, 8th June 1993, lot 86.
Sotheby's London, 15th May 2013, lot 174.

ExhibitedImperial Chinese Porcelain, Ceramics & Works of Art, Marchant, London, 2013, cat. no. 42. 

NoteVisually commanding for the powerful design of a dragon writhing amidst flames, balanced by the elegance of the four phoenixes, depicted flying on the underside amidst ruyi clouds, the current dish is a magnificent example of the technical proficiency of craftsmen employed at the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen. The creative ingenuity of the Yongzheng potter is evident in the perfectly positioned and spaced elements of the design so that attention is cleverly drawn to the central dragon.

A closely related piece is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (accession no. C.45-1928); and another, formerly in the Tsui Museum of Art, is illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art, Chinese Ceramics IV, Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1995, col. pl. 126. See also a pair of similar dishes from the collection of Captain Charles Oswald Liddell, included in the exhibitions The Liddell Collection, Bluett and Son, London, 1929, cat. no. 166, and Recent Acquisitions, Important Chinese Porcelain from Private Collections, Marchant, London, 2012, cat. no. 29.

Compare also a pair of closely related dishes, originally in the Dreesmann collection, sold in our Paris rooms, 12th June 2019, lot 147, and another pair sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th/30th October 1995, lot 725.

Sotheby's. Marchant – Fifty Qing Imperial Porcelains, Hong Kong, 11 July 2020