An exceptionally rare white-glazed 'Eight Buddhist Emblems' stem bowl, Mark and period of Xuande (1425-1435)

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Lot 153. An exceptionally rare white-glazed 'Eight Buddhist Emblems' stem bowl, Mark and period of Xuande (1426-1435). Diameter 6¼ in., 15.9 cm. Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 USDLot sold: 56,700 USD. © Sotheby's 2021

well potted with deep rounded sides rising from a cylindrical foot to a metal-bound rim, faintly incised to the exterior with the 'eight Buddhist emblems', each emblem encircled by a scrolling lotus stem meandering around the vessel, all above a border of petal lappets and a band of foliate scroll at the foot, covered overall with a blue-tinged white glaze, the center of the interior with a six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle.

ProvenanceCollection of E. E. Shahmoon.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 16th-17th January 1976, lot 333.
Acquired by the grandfather of the present owner from the above, and thence by descent.

Note: Vessels of this form appear to be an innovation of the Xuande period (r. 1426-35). It is extremely rare for a stem bowl to have a short foot and straight, rather than flared, rim like the present piece. Subtly decorated with the 'eight Buddhist emblems', this bowl might have been intended for religious ceremonies. Similar examples are held in important museums worldwide. See two white-glazed bowls incised with Buddhist emblems, both with the six-character Xuande mark inscribed in a single line in a vertical cartouche: one in the Palace Museum, Beijing (acc. no. 故 144098), illustrated in Imperial Porcelains from the Reign of Xuande in the Ming Dynasty: A Comparison of Porcelains from the Imperial Kiln site at Jingdezhen and the Imperial Collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, 2015, pl. 109; the other in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Ming Xuande ciqi tezhan mulu / Special Exhibition of Xuande Wares, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1980, cat. no. 114. Compare another white-glazed stem bowl with a Xuande mark similar to the present piece, but incised with flowers on the exterior, also in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in ibid., cat. no. 115. See also blue-and-white stem bowls of this shape included in the exhibition Special Exhibition of Selected Hsüan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1998, cat. nos 116 and 117.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 21 September 2021