Lot 8. A finely enamelled pair of doucai 'lotus' dishes, Marks and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 20.2 cm. Lot sold: 1,890,000 HKD (Estimate: 800,000 - 1,200,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2021
each superbly painted on the interior with four iron-red Indian lotus sprays encircling a larger one in the centre, all wreathed by scrolling leafy foliage, the design echoed on the exterior below a band of 'horse-hoof' motifs, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark within a double circle.
Provenance: Christie's Hong Kong, 27th/28th April 1997, lot 746.
Note: Impressive for the rich and complex design of lotus blooms amongst foliate scrolls, the unusual rendition of lotuses on this pair of dishes reflects the level of artistic innovation allowed by craftsmen working in the Yongzheng period. With the developments in porcelain production and the Emperor’s desire to create refined designs that were based on celebrated wares from China’s history, highly original compositions that were rooted in the past were produced. These lotuses appear to be inspired by Chenghua designs which featured bright red petals around a centre of yellow and green, as seen on a stemcup, from the Wu Lai Hsi, Carl Kempe and Meiyintang Collections, sold in these rooms, 5th October 2011, lot 28. The green leaves are reminiscent of Western acanthus leaves and demonstrate the level of cultural exchange during the Qing dynasty.
This dish diverges slightly from typical doucai wares as the lotus blooms have not been pencilled in underglaze blue. Instead, they are outlined in razor-sharp iron red, creating an eye-catching contrast between them and the softer underglaze-blue lines. A closely related dish in the Tokyo National Museum was included in the Museum’s exhibition Chinese Arts of the Ming and Ch’ing Periods, 1963, Tokyo, cat. no. 413; one in the Chang Foundation, Taipei, is illustrated in James Spencer, Selected Chinese Ceramics from Han to Qing Dynasties, Taipei, 1990, pl. 135; another from the collection of W.G. Gulland, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is published in John Ayers, Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1980, pl. 210; and a fourth dish is illustrated in Mayuyama, Seventy Years, Tokyo, 1976, vol. 1, pl. 1067.
See a single similar dish included in the Exhibition of Ch’ing Porcelain from the Wah Kwong Collection, Hong Kong, 1973, cat. no. 88; another from the collection of Paul and Helen Bernat, sold in these rooms, 15th November 1988, lot 16; and a pair from the collection of Stephen Junkunc III was sold at Christie’s New York, 21st November 1995, lot 258. A larger example (d. 27 cm), from the collection of William Cleverley Alexander, is included in Recent Acquisitions 2008, S. Marchant & Son, London, 2008, cat. no. 36.
Sotheby's. The Three Emperors: Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong reigns from the Yidetang Collection, Hong Kong, 12 October 2021