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A FINELY PAINTED BLUE AND WHITE 'FLORAL' CHARGER
MING DYNASTY, YONGLE PERIOD
Estimate
3,000,0005,000,000
LOT SOLD. 5,215,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
2
A FINELY PAINTED BLUE AND WHITE 'FLORAL' CHARGER
MING DYNASTY, YONGLE PERIOD
Estimate
3,000,0005,000,000
LOT SOLD. 5,215,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Selected Imperial Ceramics from the Tianminlou Collection

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Hong Kong

A FINELY PAINTED BLUE AND WHITE 'FLORAL' CHARGER
MING DYNASTY, YONGLE PERIOD
with shallow rounded sides divided into twelve bracket foliations, rising from a short circular tapered foot to a barbed everted rim, exquisitely decorated in shades of cobalt blue with 'heaping and piling', the interior adorned with a central peony bloom wreathed by meandering scrolls of camellia, rose, lotus and hibiscus blossoms, the cavetto with detached sprays of peony, chrysanthemum, pomegranate, hibiscus, morning glory and lotus, each repeated twice and paired across the charger, all within a border of scrolling ruyi heads within double-line bands at the rim, the exterior with similar detached floral sprays within double-line borders, the base and bevelled footring left unglazed
38.5 cm, 14 7/8  in.
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Exhibited

Chinese Porcelain in the S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1987, cat. no. 6.
Blue and White Porcelain from the Tianminlou Collection, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1992, cat. no. 22.
Tianminlou qinghua ci tezhan [Special exhibition of blue and white porcelain from the Tianminlou collection], Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 1996.

Literature

Blue and White Porcelain from the Collection of Tianminlou Foundation, Shanghai, 1996, no. 23.

Catalogue Note

Striking for its delicate and exquisitely painted motif of five entwined floral scrolls, this charger displays the century-long interaction between potters in China and consumers in East Asia. Its large size, barbed rim and lobed form reflect the Yongle Emperor's interest in producing porcelain suitable for export, while the delicate rendering of flowers and leaves exhibits the Jingdezhen potters' own interpretation of foreign aesthetic taste. Its refined porcelain body and luminous cobalt testifies to the great technological advances made in this reign, perhaps the most experimental amongst Ming reigns. 

The Mongol invasion in the 1270s and the founding of the Yuan dynasty placed China within the wide network of territories controlled by the Mongols. Trade through the maritime Silk Route flourished in this period and porcelain was a luxurious commodity sought-after by Persian merchants. Such large dishes were made since the Yuan dynasty and were uniquely adapted to Middle Eastern dining customs. They would be placed in the centre of the table for communal eating. A miniature depicting their use at a feast held in Topkapi Saray, Istanbul, in the 17th century is illustrated by Julian Raby and Ünsal Yücel in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, ed. John Ayers, London, 1986, vol. 1, p. 45

The Yongle Emperor was an outward looking monarch who sought to propagate China's supremacy internationally. In order to receive recognition of his power as the 'Son of Heaven' and ruler of the most powerful empire, Yongle directed the famous Muslim eunuch Zheng He (1371-1433) to undertake six maritime expeditions and establish diplomatic relations. Tribute gifts including exotic animals were brought back from these expeditions, while further gifts reached the court through foreign envoys who began travelling to China as a result of the expeditions. Trade was strictly regulated by the court through a tribute system, porcelain together with silk constituted a luxury commodity sought-after throughout Asia and beyond, and on porcelain China held a monopoly.

Porcelain chargers of this type are preserved in the royal collections of the Safavids in Iran and the Ottomans in Turkey. Three chargers of this design from the Ardabil Shrine in the National Museum of Iran, Tehran, are included in John Alexander Pope, Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, Washington D.C., 1956, pls 29.101, 29.106 and 29.109; and two chargers painted with different blooms in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, are illustrated in Regina Krahl, op.cit., vol. 2, pls 601 and 602, the first with waves on the rim and the second with a floral scroll.

A charger of this design in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, was included in Special Exhibition of Early Ming Period Porcelain, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1982, cat. no. 37; one in the National Museum of China is published in Zhongguo Guojia Bowuguan guancang wenwu yanjiu congshu/Studies on the Collections of the National Museum of China. Ciqi juan: Mingdai [Porcelain section: Ming dynasty], Shanghai, 2007, pl. 20; another in the British Museum, London, is illustrated in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics, London, 2001, pl. 3.35; and a fourth example, published in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 2, London, 1994, pl. 663, was sold in these rooms, 8th April 2013, lot 20. A further dish of this type from the collection of Mr Lawrence W.T. Chan, was included in the Min Chiu Society exhibition The Radiant Ming 1368-1644 through the Min Chiu Society Collection, Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong, 2015-2016, cat. no. 63.

Selected Imperial Ceramics from the Tianminlou Collection

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Hong Kong