A yellow-ground green-enamelled 'dragon' bowl, Mark and period of Yongzheng | 清雍正 黃地綠彩龍紋盌 《大清雍正年製》款
A yellow-ground green-enamelled 'dragon' bowl
Mark and period of Yongzheng
清雍正 黃地綠彩龍紋盌 《大清雍正年製》款
well potted with deep rounded sides rising from a tapered foot to a gently flared rim, finely decorated on the exterior with two dragons striding in mutual pursuit among clouds reaching for a flaming pearl, one with its head turned back, the other looking forward, each finely incised in the biscuit and enamelled in translucent green against a brilliant opaque lemon-yellow ground, all further below a zigzag border of clouds divided by a green fillet and a single incised line at the rim, the interior and the base left white, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark within a double circle
In excellent overall condition with a fine firing fissure to the foot.
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The present bowl is remarkable for not only its intricately incised dragon design and its strikingly contrasting colour scheme, but also for its historical context at the Qing court. There were strict regulations on the variety and quantity of tableware to be used by the different imperial members during the Qing dynasty. According to Guochao gongshi / The History of the Imperial House and Court, which was first compiled in the seventh year of the Qianlong reign (1742), vessels with the design of green dragons on a yellow ground, such as the present piece, could only be used by guifei (the Emperor’s concubines of the second rank) at the court. This prestigious bowl would have demonstrated the very high status of its female owner at that time.
Similar bowls can be found in important public and private collections, such as a pair formerly in the collection of T.Y. Chao, included in the Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong exhibition Ch’ing Polychrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1977, cat. no. 69, later sold in these rooms, 19th May 1987, lot 315; another pair formerly in the collection of the British Rail Pension Fund, sold multiple times at auction and most recently at Christie’s Hong Kong, 26th April 2004, lot 958; one in the Tianminlou Collection, included in the exhibition Chinese Porcelain. The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1987, cat. no. 97; and a larger one preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan cang: Qingdai yuyao ciqi / Qing Porcelains from the Imperial Kilns Preserved in the Palace Museum, vol. 1, part 2, Beijing, 2005, pl. 7.