230
230

PROPERTY FROM AN ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTION

A RARE IRON-RED AND UNDERGLAZE-BLUE ‘NINE DRAGON’ CHARGER
YONGZHENG MARK AND PERIOD
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 218,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
230

PROPERTY FROM AN ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTION

A RARE IRON-RED AND UNDERGLAZE-BLUE ‘NINE DRAGON’ CHARGER
YONGZHENG MARK AND PERIOD
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 218,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

|
London

A RARE IRON-RED AND UNDERGLAZE-BLUE ‘NINE DRAGON’ CHARGER
YONGZHENG MARK AND PERIOD
sturdily potted with curved sides rising from a tapered foot to a wide everted rim, the interior painted with a central medallion enclosing an iron-red five-clawed frontal dragon curled around a flaming pearl amidst a turbulent sea of underglaze-blue waves, the cavetto on both the interior and exterior with four rampant red dragons in different lively attitudes, two of them five-clawed and two three-clawed and one of the latter with wings and a fish tail and only one eye visible, all pacing among blue clouds, the rim encircled by a band of crashing waves, inscribed to the base with a six-character reign mark within a double-circle
47.5cm., 18 ¾ in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Collection of George and Cornelia Wingfield Digby.

Catalogue Note

Dishes of this magnificent size and formidable decoration were made to impress. Such wares were used at Imperial banquets and on special celebratory occasions, such as the ‘Thousand Elderly Banquet’ held in honour of senior citizens when thousands of invited guests were served a great feast. The Manchu custom of banqueting closely followed the Mongolian and Tibetan tradition of shared communal dining.

A Yongzheng dish of this design and large size in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red, vol. 3, Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 223; another in the Seikado Bunko Art Museum, Tokyo, was included in the exhibition Seikado zo Shincho toji. Keitokuchin kanyo no bi [Qing porcelain collected in the Seikado. Beauty of the Jingdezhen imperial kilns], Seikado Bunko Art Museum, Tokyo, 2006, cat. no. 53; and another in the Meiyintang collection is published in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1723. Compare also a Yongzheng dish sold three times in our rooms, once in London in 1995, and twice in Hong Kong, in 2005 and 9th October 2012, lot 125, from the collection of Dr Alice Cheng; another sold in our London rooms, 6th December 1994, lot 179; and a third, with a slightly reduced rim, sold at Christie’s London, 10th April 1978, lot 49.

The decoration found in this dish is a Yongzheng period interpretation of an early-Ming pattern. The Yongzheng emperor was known to have sent antiques from the palace to Jingdezhen in order to establish production standards as well as to serve as models and inspirations for designs. This dragon design follows after a Xuande prototype, where dishes were painted with a side-facing five-clawed dragon amongst crashing waves in the centre, the side decorated with three dragons striding amid clouds. An example of this Xuande dish, excavated at the waste heap of the Ming Imperial Kilns in Zhushan, was included in the exhibition Xuande Imperial Kiln Excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1998, cat. no. 87.

The creative ingenuity of the Yongzheng potter is evident from the successful transference of a pattern that was originally made for much smaller vessels. The different design elements on this dish are perfectly composed to give no hint of overcrowding or spatial gaps that could hinder the overall harmony. While maintaining the essence of the original design, the artist created a motif that is familiar yet fresh: the side-facing dragon has been replaced with a frontal dragon and the crashing waves no longer cover any part of the dragon’s body to give a greater sense of the creature’s dominance and strength. The use of red heightens the contrast between the dynamism of the background and that of the dragons while endowing the scene with further auspicious meaning. Moreover, the extent of the Qing craftsman’s proficiency is evident in the additional crested rolling wave band encircling the rim of the dish which frames and draws the expansive design together, an element that was not necessary for the smaller Ming dishes.

Yongzheng dishes of this type continued to be favoured by the Qianlong emperor who commissioned the making of very similar vessels. Examples of dishes from both periods are illustrated in Min Shin no bijutsu [Ming and Qing art], Tokyo, 1982, pls. 154 and 172; and another Qianlong example in the Nanjing Museum was included in the exhibition Qing Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Reigns, Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1995, cat. no. 81, and also illustrated on the dust jacket.

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

|
London