Lot 320. A pair of large verte-Imari chargers, Kangxi period (1662-1722); 54cm (21 1/4in) and 53.8cm (21 1/8in) diam. Sold for £ 50,250 (€ 58,768). (Estimate £ 24,000 - £30,000). © Bonhams 2001-2021

Each brightly enamelled with the Yang family female generals practising their equestrian skills within a pavilion garden, overlooked by a matriarch and attendants on a balcony above, within a border of large exotic floral blooms on a gilt foliate ground.

Provenancea European private collection.

NoteThe mounted horsewomen identify this subject matter as the story of 'The Female Troops of the Yang Family'. The Yang family was celebrated in the Northern Song dynasty for their military prowess and loyalty to the Emperor, and for many years they were successful in protecting China from northern invaders. Eventually, however, the majority of the male members of the Yang family were killed by the invading Khitan. In order to avenge their husbands' deaths and in defence of their country, the women of the family took up arms and are shown here practicing their equestrian skills prior to riding out to meet the enemy.

Dishes with this design and from this period are more commonly found decorated in the rose-verte or famille rose palette, whereas the verte-Imari palette appears to be particularly unusual. See a rose-verte dish with a very similar design, Yongzheng, illustrated by G.C.Williamson, The book of Famille Rose, Vermont and Tokyo, 1970, pl.XLIV. See also another rose-verte example illustrated by F.Reichel, Die Porzellansammlung Augusts des Starken, Dresden 1993, no.21.

See a single similar large verte-Imari dish, Kangxi, with the same design, which was sold at Christie's London, 26 April 2016, lot 77.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art: Including Imperial and Court Textiles Curated by Linda Wrigglesworth, London, 2 november 2021