A rare yellow-glazed saucer-dish, Hongzhi six-character mark and of the period

Lot 320. A rare yellow-glazed saucer-dish, Hongzhi six-character mark and of the period (1488-1505); 21.8cm diam. Sold for £20,480. © Bonhams 2023

The rounded sides rising from a short tapering foot, covered inside and out with a lemon-yellow glaze, the white-glazed base with a six-character mark within a double ring in underglaze blue.

Provenance: a Swiss private collection, and thence by descent.

NoteYellow-glazed wares such as the present lot were produced for use at the Imperial Court. See a yellow-glazed dish, Hongzhi mark and period, in the Qing Court Collection, Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Monochrome Porcelain. The Complete Collection of the Treasures of the Palace Museum, Shanghai, 1999, p.44, no.39. See also a very similar yellow-glazed dish, Hongzhi mark and period, in the collection of the British Museum, illustrated by J.Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, p.186 nos. 7:19 and 7:20.

During the Hongzhi reign, the Emperor wanted to cut the lavish spending that had been characteristic of earlier reigns such as the Yongle period. His diligent Confucian attitude to affairs of state meant lowered taxes, and reduced government spending, which resulted in the occasional halting of the production of Imperial porcelain at Jingdezhen, with workers relieved from time to time. However, despite the rarity due to reduced government spending, the tone of the yellow glazed wares of the Hongzhi period have been regarded as among the highest quality of the entire Ming dynasty; see Geng Baochang, Ming Qing Ciqi Jianding, Hong Kong, 1993, pp.105 and 111.

Compare with a similar yellow-glazed saucer dish, Hongzhi six-character mark and period, which was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, on 27 May 2021, lot 66.

Bonhams. FINE CHINESE ART, London, 2 November 2023