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.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale