Details & Cataloguing

Ming: The Intervention of Imperial Taste

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A FINE BLUE AND WHITE LOBED 'FRUIT AND FLOWER' BOWL
XUANDE MARK AND PERIOD 
of conical form with straight flared sides, the rim indented to form six subtle lobes, the interior painted in dark tones of underglaze blue with a central medallion containing a fruiting and flowering peach spray within a triple circle, surrounded by six floral sprays of lotus, camellia, chrysanthemum and hollyhock, below a border of smaller detached floral sprays within double lines at the rim, the exterior painted with fruiting branches of lychee, grape, pomegranate, loquat, cherry and peach above smaller floral sprays, the short footrim with a band of classic scroll, the base with the six-character mark within a double circle, Japanese wood box (3)
Diameter 8 3/4  in., 22.3 cm
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Provenance

Collection of a Japanese Pharmaceutical Company. 
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 10th April 2006, lot 1660. 

Catalogue Note

Conical bowls of this fruit-and-flower design can be counted among the most successful blue and white bowl patterns of the early Ming dynasty and belong to the classic repertoire of the Xuande (1426-35) imperial kilns. They reflect the newly awakened interest of the Chinese court in fine blue and white porcelains. Whereas Yongle (1403-24) blue and white is still characterized by many large items created for export, in the Xuande reign the products of the imperial workshops were geared for the imperial house both in size and in taste, exquisitely finished and inscribed with the imperial reign mark.

A bowl of this design in the Palace Museum, Beijing, from the Qing court collection, is illustrated in Geng Baochang, ed., Gugong Bowuyuan cang Ming chu qinghua ci [Early Ming blue and white porcelain in the Palace Museum], Beijing, 2002, vol. 2, pl. 146, where it is stated that this design was frequently copied in the Kangxi (1662-1722) and Yongzheng (1723-35) periods, and where a Xuande-marked copy attributed to the Kangxi reign is illustrated, pl. 179; two such bowls in the National Palace Museum were included in the Museum’s exhibitions Ming Xuande ciqi tezhan mulu/Catalogue of a Special Exhibition of Hsuan-te Period Porcelain, Taipei, 1980, no.36, and Mingdai Xuande guanyao jinghua tezhan tulu/Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Selected Hsüan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, Taipei, 1998, no. 62.

A bowl reputedly from the Summer Palace, Beijing, and later the collections of K.L. Dawes, J.F. Woodthorpe and Frederick M. Mayer, was sold in our London rooms, 20th May 1949, lot 84, and 6th April 1954, lot 90, and at Christie’s London, 25th June 1974, lot 90; a second bowl from the Woodthorpe collection, sold in our London rooms 5th June 1956, lot 112, was included in the Venice exhibition 1954 together with a bowl from the collection of Sir Harry and Lady Garner, sold in our London rooms, 21st November 1961, lot 36, see Mostra d’Arte Cinese/Exhibition of Chinese Art, Palazzo Ducale, Venice, 1954, cat. nos 642 and 643; another sold in our London rooms, 24th March 1964, lot 98 and now in the collection of the Asia Society, New York, is illustrated in Denise Patry Leidy, Treasures of Asian Art: The Asia Society’s Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, New York, 1994, pl. 176; one from the collection of Major L.F. Hay was sold in our London rooms, 16th June 1939, lot 92; one from the R.H.R. Palmer collection and later the Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 17th January 1989, lot 567, and 3rd November 1996, lot 546; a bowl from the collections of President Herbert Hoover, Mr. and Mrs. Allan Hoover, and Ira and Nancy Koger was sold in our New York rooms, 27th November 1990, lot 6; one from the Su Lin An collection, was sold in these rooms, 31st October 1995, lot 315; a bowl from the Manno Museum, Osaka, was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 31st May 2010, lot 1856; and a bowl from the collection of Roger Pilkington was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 6th April 2016, lot 20. 

Ming: The Intervention of Imperial Taste

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New York