the deep rounded sides resting on a low tapering foot, finely painted to the interior with a stylised lotus scroll bearing six blossoming lotus flowers within triple circles, the cavetto with a naturalistically painted lotus scroll below a 'classic' scroll at the rim, the exterior painted with a continuous band of chrysanthemum scroll between a 'classic' scroll at the foot and a key-fret border at the rim, the base left unglazed
Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 2, no. 662.
While the plants on porcelain of the Ming dynasty are generally naturalistically rendered, with matching blooms and leaves, the lotus appears in two different manifestations, one naturalistic, as around the inner sides of the present dish, and one stylised, with fanciful curled leaves as in the centre of the piece. This latter, idealized rendering is also seen on early Ming Buddhist sculptures and depicts the lotus as a symbol of purity.
Dishes of this pattern are known both with and without Xuande reign marks, a fact that may point either to different dates, Yongle and Xuande – or different destinations – foreign courts or the Chinese imperial house.
Two unmarked dishes of this design from the Ardabil Shrine in Iran are recorded in John Alexander Pope, Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, Washington, D.C., 1956, no. 29.118-19, pl. 36 bottom right; two others are published in Helen D. Ling and E.T. Chow, Complete Collection of Ming Dynasty Kingtehchen Porcelain from the Hall of Disciplined Learning, Hong Kong, 1950, vol. I, pl. 28; one in the Beijing Art Museum is published in Zhongguo taoci quanji [Complete series on Chinese ceramics], Shanghai, 1999-2000, vol. 12, pl. 79. A companion dish, also from the Basmadjieff collection was sold together with the present piece in our London rooms, 14th March 1972, lot 129; one from the Scheinman collection, included in the exhibition Born of Earth and Fire, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, 1992, cat. no. 79, was sold in our London rooms, 2nd December 1997, lot 203. A dish of this design with a Xuande reign mark is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, illustrated in Sir Harry Garner, Oriental Blue and White, London, 1954, pl. 16.
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