Bowls painted with this design in the subtle doucai palette are unusual, although a closely related bowl was sold in these rooms, 27th April 1999, lot 426; another was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 13th November 1987, lot 485; and a third was sold at Christie’s London, 15th July 1981, lot 17.
A similar design of fruiting peach sprays inscribed with shou characters is also found painted in blue and white, such as a Yongzheng mark and period bowl, in the National Museum of China, Beijing, included in the exhibition La Splendeur du Feu, Centre Culturel de Chine, Paris, 2004, cat. no. 25.
The interior of this bowl is painted with the popular motif of the Seventh Trial of Zhao Sheng, a disciple of the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) Daoist master Zhang Daoling, founder of the influential Way of the Celestial Masters school. Zhao was the only disciple of Master Zhang to have successfully obtained peaches from a tree growing sideways on a steep cliff. Whilst the rendition of this story on the present bowl excludes the figure, it retains the depiction of a lofty cliff overlooking a deep ravine with the peach tree emerging sideways.
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