Lot 110
  • 110

AN EXTREMELY RARE IRON-RED ENAMELLED 'DRAGON' BOWL HONGZHI MARK AND PERIOD

Estimate
40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • porcelain
  • 18.4cm diam.
the exterior decorated with two dragons incised and left in the biscuit on a ground of incised waves and rocks, each coloured in iron-red, with the claws and other details painted over the glaze, the interior with a smaller dragon in a similar technique with the body enamelled in green and red, the base with the six-character reign mark in underglaze-blue within a double circle, wood stand

Provenance

Antiquaire Tournet, Paris, circa 1946.
Collection of Comte de Marotte, Paris.
Thence by descent.

Catalogue Note

While bowls and dishes with dragons incised and enamelled in green or left in the biscuit are well known for the Ming dynasty, those with the incised dragons enamelled in iron-red outside and turquoise inside, like the present piece, are extremely rare. Only one other bowl of this type from the Hongzhi period appears to be recorded. This Hongzhi-marked bowl was first sold at Sotheby’s London 8th July 1975, lot 113, exhibited on loan at the San Antonio Museum of Art, 1986-1988, and was later sold again by the British Rail Pension Fund at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 16th April 1989, lot 26 (Fig. 1). Only one dish of Hongzhi mark and period appears to be known for the same type of decoration, with two incised dragons enamelled in iron-red on the exterior, and another dragon incised in the centre with its body enamelled in turquoise on the biscuit and other details such as claws and clouds painted in yellow and iron-red enamels, see Porcelain of the National Palace Museum: Enamelled Wares of the Ming Dynasty, Vol. I, Hong Kong, 1966, pl. 6a-c. For a Hongzhi-marked dish with the incised dragons enamelled in green, see the same book, pl. 5a-c. The considerable wear to the enamels of the present example, particularly to areas of the dragons' claws, strongly suggests that the enamelling is contemporary with the manufacture of the piece. It is, however, very unusual to find the iron-red enamel applied to the biscuit, here the dragon body slightly recessed below the level of the white glaze and therefore comparatively protected from wear.
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