A rare blue and white circular 'dragon' box and cover, Mark and period of Wanli | 明萬曆 青花雲龍瑞獸紋蓋盒 《大明萬曆年製》款
What is guaranteed?
A rare blue and white circular 'dragon' box and cover
Mark and period of Wanli
明萬曆 青花雲龍瑞獸紋蓋盒 《大明萬曆年製》款
the base with a six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle (2)
Diameter 10⅛ in., 25.8 cm
The cover slightly warped with a star crack measuring approx. 9cm across and a 5cm hairline to the rim; some fritting along the molded edges at the rim. The box with an old chip to the inner foot rim, measuring approx. 3cm across, and a 1.2cm chip to inner rim; firing imperfections, including an iron spot to the mark.
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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.
Collection of F.G. Fletcher.
Sotheby's London, 24th March 1964, lot 88.
Collection of Dr Wou Kiuan (1910-1997).
Wou Lien-Pai Museum, 1968-present, coll. no. M.5.10.
吳權博士 (1910-1997) 收藏
Rose Kerr et al., Chinese Antiquities from the Wou Kiuan Collection. Wou Lien-Pai Museum, Hong Kong, 2011, pl. 121.
柯玫瑰等，《Chinese Antiquities from the Wou Kiuan Collection. Wou Lien-Pai Museum》，香港，2011年，圖版121
Painted with a lively combination of a writhing five-clawed dragon with other auspicious mythical animals running around it, the present box is exceptional not only for its relatively large size, but also its striking design. Although dragons were a popular motif, such a dynamic depiction of fabulous animals such as qilin, deer and hares is unusual. Compare a box and cover closely related to the present piece, but with the rims decorated with a zig-zag border enclosing stylized lingzhi sprigs, sold in our London rooms, 26th June 1973, lot 246. Circular boxes of Wanli mark and period more often have the dragon design around the sides: see one depicting boys playing in a garden at the center, preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (accession no. 27.119.26).
Related motifs can be found on blue and white porcelains of other shapes, see, for example, a Wanli dish bearing a landscape scene with mythical beasts in the interior, while painted with a dragon design band around the rim, sold multiple times at auction and most recently in our London rooms, 7th November 2012, lot 105.