A very large blue and white 'boys' fishbowl, Mark and period of Jiajing | 明嘉靖 青花嬰戲圖大缸 《大明嘉靖年製》款
Important Chinese Art from the Collection of Bruce Dayton and Ruth Stricker Dayton
A very large blue and white 'boys' fishbowl
Mark and period of Jiajing
明嘉靖 青花嬰戲圖大缸 《大明嘉靖年製》款
the broad sides widening at the mouth, painted in deep cobalt blue with a continuous scene of playful boys engaged in various activities amidst a landscape setting, some holding lanterns, parasols, and chimes, others flying a kite or playing weiqi, all below thin scrolling cloud wisps and a galleried rim painted with line borders and a six-character mark in underglaze blue
Diameter 30½ in., 77.4 cm
The fishbowl with an old restored break and two restored hairlines to the side. Overall with expected firing imperfections including crazing to the glaze and some scattered frits, some restored.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Marchant, London, 22nd March 2001.
The present fishbowl is impressive for its large size and animated design of playful boys painted in striking underglaze blue. Vessels of these dimensions were especially difficult to produce, as explained by R.L. Hobson in The Wares of the Ming Dynasty, London, 1923, p. 19 and p. 110, where he notes that such vessels needed up to nine days of firing and that Imperial potters were driven to despair, since many pieces consistently failed to come out perfectly year after year.
A similar vessel is illustrated in Enlightening Elegance: Imperial Porcelain of the mid to late Ming, the Huaihaitang Collection, Hong Kong, 2013, pl. 57, with the boys in a more lush setting. Two examples in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, one painted with dragons and the other with Buddhist lions, are published in Lu Minghua, Shanghai bowuguan cangpin yanjiu daxi: Mingdai guanyao ciqi [Ming imperial porcelain], Shanghai, 2007, pls 3-84 and 3-85. A Jiajing mark and period fishbowl with a continuous scene of a lotus pond was sold at Christie's London, 10th July 2006, lot 118.