A blue and white 'dragon' dish, Mark and period of Zhengde

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Lot 3654. Property from an important Asian private collection. A blue and white 'dragon' dish, Mark and period of Zhengde (1506-1521); 21 cm. Lot Sold 1,968,500 HKD (Estimate 1,000,000 - 1,500,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2023

Provenance: A European private collection.
Sotheby's London, 15th May 2013, lot 104.

Note: The design of dragon and lotus was one of the most characteristic pattern of the Zhengde period (1506-21) and adorned a variety of vessels, including bowls, stemcups, jars of zhadou shape and dishes. Although this design was popular throughout the Ming period, the dense and even composition rendered in soft cobalt blue seen on the present dish is peculiar to the Zhengde reign.

Closely related examples, all bearing the four-character reign mark that is characteristic of this group of dishes, are found in museums and collections around the world; see one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (II), Shanghai, 2000, pl. 63; one in the Capital Museum, Beijing, published in Zhongguo taoci quanji, Shanghai, 2000, vol. 12, pl. 138; another in the Shanghai Museum, included in Wang Qingzheng, Underglaze Blue and Red, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 116; and a fourth example formerly in the collection of Mrs Alfred Clark, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1679, and was sold multiple times at auction, most recently in these rooms, 9th October 2012, lot 19, from the Meitintang collection. For the Xuande prototype see one excavated at the waste heaps of the Ming imperial kilns, published in Lu Minghua, Mingdai guanyao ciqi, Shanghai, 2007, pl. 3-119.

For recently sold examples of similar Zhengde-period dishes, see one from the collection of the late Sir Joseph Hotung, sold in these rooms, 9th October 2022, lot 135; compare another one from the collection of Albert Y.P and Sara K. S. Lee, sold in our New York rooms, 21st September 2022, lot 202.

A dish of this design is shown on the sixth scroll of the Guwan tu (Imperial Collection of Yongzheng), dated to the sixth year of his reign (1728), which was sold in our London rooms, 19th May 1939, lot 62, and is now in the British Museum, London, from the Sir Percival David collection.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese ArtHong Kong, 9 October 2023