A large blue and white 'lotus bouquet' charger, Ming dynasty, Yongle period | 明永樂 青花一把蓮紋大盤
What is guaranteed?
A large blue and white 'lotus bouquet' charger
Ming dynasty, Yongle period
Diameter 15⅞ in., 40.3 cm
In very good condition with the exception of a 14cm crack to the rim. Minute firing imperfections elsewhere, consistent with period of production.
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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.
Christie's London, 5th June 1972, lot 85.
Collection of Dr Wou Kiuan (1910-1997).
Wou Lien-Pai Museum, 1972-present, coll. no. M.7.9.
Rose Kerr et al., Chinese Antiquities from the Wou Kiuan Collection. Wou Lien-Pai Museum, Hong Kong, 2011, pl. 114.
柯玫瑰等，《Chinese Antiquities from the Wou Kiuan Collection. Wou Lien-Pai Museum》，香港，2011年，圖版114
Blue and white chargers of this shape and design represent the most classic decorative repertoire of the Yongle period. The lotus bouquet motif, with its unexpected combination of lotus flowers, leaves and water weeds, tied with a ribbon, evokes strikingly colored lotus ponds in full bloom during summer. Such designs were often executed with slight variations on the rim which could vary between a wave, classic scroll or keyfret border. Compare a similar charger rendered with this design from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the Museum’s exhibition Shi yu xin: Mingdai Yongle huangdi de ciqi / Pleasingly Pure and Lustrous: Porcelains from the Yongle Reign (1403-1424) of the Ming Dynasty, Taipei, 2017, p. 67.
These dishes or chargers were popular and widely exported to the Middle East with the expansion of trade routes during the Yongle reign, as demonstrated by the abundance of such examples in the Middle Eastern collections. Thirty-four 'lotus bouquet' dishes are recorded in the collection of the Ardabil Shrine in Iran, including seven with the same wave design on the rim, as published in John Alexander Pope, Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, Washington, D.C., 1956, pls 30 and 31. Compare also a dish illustrated in Regina Krahl and John Ayers, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, London, 1986, vol. II, no. 604.
Further examples of slightly smaller size, between 30-38 cm diameter, sold at auction include one sold at Christie's London, 10th June 174, lot 74 and again in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th October 2019, lot 129 from the collection of Sir Quo-Wei Lee; three sold at Christie's New York, 18th March 2009, lot 711, 18th September 2014, lot 815 and 24th September 2020, lot 1552. A smaller dish, measuring 27.6 cm in diameter from the Meiyintang Collection was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 3rd April 2012, lot 37.
The design was revived again by the imperial kilns during the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods of the Qing dynasty; compare three revival dishes in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Geng Baochang, ed., Gugong Bowuyuan cang Ming chu qinghua ci [Early Ming blue-and-white porcelain in the Palace Museum], vol. II, Beijing, 2002, pls 195, 199 and 203.