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Lot 3510. A rare biscuit-enamelled sancai dish, Mark and period of Kangxi (1662-1722); 25 cm. Lot sold 2,520,000 HKD (Estimate : 2,000,000 - 3,000,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2022

Provenance: Sotheby's Hong Kong, 24th/25th November 1987, lot 195.
The Walter and Phyllis Shorenstein Collection.
Christie's Hong Kong, 1st December 2010, lot 2963.
Exhibited: Qing Porcelain, Marchant, London, 2011, cat. no. 6.
Kangxi Famille Verte, Marchant, London, 2017, cat. no. 23 and back cover.

Note:  Superbly painted with auspicious fruits symbolising abundance of offspring, in an elegant palette of understated beauty, this dish belongs to one of the most representative and sought-after types of porcelain from the imperial kilns of the Kangxi Emperor. The type of dishes features a highly unusual decoration that required remarkable skill, technology and labour to manufacture. The dishes were first incised in body, both inside and outside, with fine designs of lively dragons and inscribed on the base with the imperial reign mark in cobalt blue. Only the bases were then covered with a clear transparent glaze, and the pieces submitted to a first firing at a high porcelain temperature. The biscuit-fired areas were then applied with a coating of opaque cream-coloured glaze, painted with fruiting branches in brown outlines and coloured washes and fired a second time at a lower enamel temperature.  

Similar decoration can also be found on bowls, but due to the complicated and long manufacturing process, such dishes and bowls were produced in fairly small numbers. Yet they are represented in world-famous museums and private collections, for example, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Enamelled Ware of the Ch’ing Dynasty, vol. I, Hong Kong, 1969, pl. 8; in the Tokyo National Museum, included in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1982, no. 158; in the Chang Foundation, Taipei, illustrated in James Spencer, Selected Chinese Ceramics from Han to Qing Dynasties, Taipei, 1990, pl. 120; and in the exhibition Splendour of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1992, cat. no. 144.

A similar dish from the British Rail Pension Fund, exhibited on loan at the Dallas Museum of Art 1985-1988, was sold in our London rooms, 6th April 1976, lot 163, and again, in these rooms, 16th May 1989, lot 70, and is illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1818, together with a matching bowl, vol. 2, no. 889. Another dish from the collection of Edward T. Chow was sold in these rooms, 25th November 1980, lot 156, and illustrated in The Leshantang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, Taipei, 2005, cat. no. 43. Further examples include one illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Ming and Ch’ing Porcelain from the Collection of the T.Y. Chao Family Foundation, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1978, cat. no. 40, and sold in these rooms, 19th May 1987, lot 302; and a pair sold in these rooms, 11th April 2008, lot 2918.

Sotheby's. Marchant II – Qing Imperial Porcelain, Hong Kong, 29 April 2022