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Lot 57. A yellow-ground underglaze-blue 'nine peaches' dish, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795). Diameter 10⅝ in., 27 cmEstimate 50,000 - 70,000 USDLot sold: 441,000 USD. © Sotheby's 2021

the interior painted in inky cobalt blue with a medallion enclosing nine peaches borne on gnarled leafy branches, the succulent ripe peaches and furled leaves accented by simulated 'heaping and piling' of the cobalt, all within a double-line border repeated at the rim, the exterior with an undulating leafy scroll bearing morning glory buds and blooms, all reserved against a brilliant lemon-yellow ground, the similarly-enameled yellow base inscribed with an underglaze-blue six-character seal mark within a white cartouche.

Property from the Collection of Bruce Dayton and Ruth Stricker Dayton.

Provenance: Marchant, London, 22nd March 2001.

Note: This dish reveals the Qianlong Emperor’s admiration for the celebrated wares of the early Ming dynasty. The motif of fruiting peaches was first devised during the Yongle period and became a favorite motif of the Qing emperors because of its association with longevity. Although the decoration on this dish is a Qianlong-era reinterpretation, it is intentionally painted in the Ming style with the characteristic ‘heaping and piling’ effect, evoking the iconic porcelains of the previous dynasty. Similarly, the attractive contrasting palette of blue and yellow first appeared on porcelain during the Xuande reign, but continued to be produced throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Dishes of this type are held in important private and museum collections worldwide. One in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated in Blue and White Ware of the Ch’ing Dynasty, vol. 2, Hong Kong, 1968, pl. 29; another in the Nanjing Museum, Nanjing, is published in Treasures in the Royalty: The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 221; and a third from the Yokogawa Collection, is published in the Illustrated Catalogues of the Tokyo National Museum. Chinese Ceramics II, Tokyo, 1965, pl. 625. See also a pair from the T. Y. Chao Collection, included in the exhibition Ch’ing Porcelain from the Wah Kwong Collection, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1973, cat. no. 45, and sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 19th May 1987, lot 316.

For examples of Xuande-period predecessors, see four broken dishes decorated with various fruit and flower motifs, excavated from the imperial kiln site at Jingdezhen, included in the exhibition Jingdezhen chutu Ming Xuande guanyao ciqi / Xuande Imperial Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1998, cat. nos 78-2, 82-2, 85-3 and 88.

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