mark and period of Xuande
The present bowl is a fine example of the successful firing of cobalt by the Xuande period, with the blue pigment more consistently even and less deep than the earlier wares of the Yongle reign. The 'heaped and piled' effect, whereby the uneven application and firing of the blue pigment with areas of pale-blue and darker-blue still present, is evident and indicates the possibility of an early Xuande date for this piece. A similar bowl of Xuande mark and period is illustrated in A Panorama of Ceramics in the Collection of the National Palace Museum. Hsuan-te Ware I, Taipei, 2000, pl. 51; and another, in the collection of the Department of Archaeology, Beijing University, was included in the exhibition Treasures from a Swallow Garden, Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology, Beijing, 1992, cat.no. 149.
Four other known Xuande-marked bowls of this design were sold in our rooms; one illustrated in Margaret Medley, 'Re-Grouping 15th Century Blue and White', Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 34, 1962-63, from the collections of Wu Lai-hsi and Major L.F. Hay, was sold in London, 26th May 1937, lot 50, and again, 16th June 1939, lot 76; another, also in London, 16th November 1971, lot 88; a third, of slightly smaller size (d. 26.7 cm) now in the S.C.Ko Tianminlou collection, in New York, 3rd December 1986, lot 244; and a fourth in these rooms, 3rd May 1994, lot 39.
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