Lot 8
  • 8


70,000 - 90,000 GBP
86,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • porcelain
  • 15cm., 5 7/8 in.
delicately potted with deep curved sides rising from a straight foot to a flared rim, the exterior boldly decorated with three mandarin fish in rich copper-red silhouettes, all reserved on a white ground, the interior left undecorated, inscribed to the base with a six-character reign mark within a double-circle


Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 25th April 2004, lot 303.

Catalogue Note

Designs in the form of underglaze-red silhouettes of animals and fish originated in the Yongle period (1403-24), when they were generally combined with underglaze-blue decoration, and by the Xuande reign (1426-35) they were often used on their own. On early Ming vessels the red fish are, however, mainly seen on stemcups and stembowls. A rare fragmentary cup with red mandarin fish, recovered from the Xuande stratum of the Ming Imperial kiln site at Jingdezhen, was included in the exhibition Jingdezhen chutu Ming Xuande guanyao ciqi [Xuande Imperial Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen], Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1998, cat. no. 101-2.


After the Xuande period this style of decoration was rarely used until it was revived in the Qing dynasty. Yongzheng mark and period bowls of this form and design are held in important museums and private collections worldwide; see one in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the Museum’s exhibition Ming Chenghua ciqi tezhan [Special exhibition of Ming Chenghua porcelain], Taipei, 1977, cat. no. 100; one in the Nanjing Museum, 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. 49; another in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, published in Rose Kerr, Chinese Ceramics. Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty 1644-1911, London, 1998, pl. 11; and a fourth from the Meiyintang collection, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 9th October 2012, lot 50. Compare also a bowl decorated with this design, but with a slightly more flared rim, in the Qingjiang County Museum, Jiangxi province, published in Complete Series on Chinese Ceramics, vol. 14, Shanghai, 2000, vol. 14, pl. 162.