An Unusual Underglaze-Blue and Iron-Red ‘Flower Basket’ Dish, Mark and Period of Wanli

Lot 3322. An Unusual Underglaze-Blue and Iron-Red ‘Flower Basket’ Dish, Mark and Period of Wanli (1573-1620). H 26cm. Sold for HKD 216,000 (Estimate HKD 100,000 - 150,000). © Poly Auction Hong Kong Limited 2022

Provenance: 1. Collection of Mr. Fernandez, Lisbon, Portugal, 1979
2. Collection of the Duchamp family, Paris, France

Note: A dish with an open mouth and shallow belly, surrounded by a footrim. The entire body is covered with a white glaze, which is uniform and lustrous. The main decoration of the dish is in blue and white, with a subdued colour, and the interior is decorated with folding bamboo leaves, interspersed with a fan, shells, and other miscellaneous jewellery. The dish is decorated with a basket of flowers within a double circle of blue and blue, the basket filled with floral branches and leaves. The centre of the dish is decorated with iron-red coloured dots. The outer wall of the dish is painted with three groups of entwined peony motifs in a circular pattern, decorated with butterfly motifs. The dish is of neat and tidy form, and the pattern of decoration is well-defined, with a neat and meticulous brushwork. The foot is inscribed in blue and white with 'Made in the Wanli period of the Da Ming Dynasty' in six characters in regular script.

The basket design is common on wares of the Wanli reign, and there is an example in the Suzhou Museum with a smaller diameter (14.2 cm) in blue and white; we have also sold an example in blue and blue with a colourful basin with flowers and fruits (18 cm) from a Japanese family collection, dated 7 October 2019, no. 3402; a comparable example is illustrated in Fujioka, Daishoku no yingyo (The Pottery and Magnetism Series: Yuan No Dyeing), vol. 42, Tokyo, 1975, plate 90. 1975, plate 90.

The most unusual feature of this plate is its iron-red dots, which are very rare. A plate from the British Museum, Capt Alfred Walter Francis Fuller, of the same size as the present one, decorated with red and yellow dots on a blue-and-white basket pattern, is published in Huo Jishu, Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001. Museum, London, 2001, fig. 11:137.

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Poly Auction Hong Kong. The Duchange Family Collection of Important Chinese Art II, Hong Kong, 2 December 2021