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A superb blue & white stembowl painted with dragons and waves (with box), Xuande M & P
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About the object

A SUPERB AND EXTREMELY RARE BLUE AND WHITE 'DRAGON' STEMBOWL\nMARK AND PERIOD OF XUANDE, THIS IS A PREMIUM LOT. CLIENTS WHO WISH TO BID ON PREMIUM LOTS ARE REQUESTED TO COMPLETE THE PREMIUM LOT PRE-REGISTRATION 3 WORKING DAYS PRIOR TO THE SALE. well potted with deep rounded sides rising to an everted rim, superbly painted in characteristic contrasting tones of vivid cobalt-blue on the exterior with two scaly five-clawed dragons in mutual pursuit above a band of jagged rocks and small crested waves, all on a ground of delicately pencilled turbulent rolling waves in lighter blue, the hollow slightly splayed foot similarly decorated with rocks rising from a narrow band of small crested waves on a lighter waves ground, the six-character mark inscribed in underglaze-blue within a double circle to the centre of the bowl  \n15.2cm., 6 in.
HK
HK
HK

notes

The present stembowl is the only one remaining in private hands, while three other stembowls of the same design, which include two additional bands of crested waves around the foot and stem, appear to be recorded.  One from the Grandidier Collection and now in the Musee Guimet, Paris, is illustrated in The World's Great Collections. Oriental Ceramics. vol. 7, col. pl. 18; the second, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the museum's Special  Exhibition of Selected Hsuan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, Taipei, 1998, cat.no. 108; and the third, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Gugong Bowuyuan cang Ming chu qinghua ci, vol. 2, Beijing, 2002, pl. 159.

Three closely related Xuande stembowls can be found without the two narrow bands of waves around the foot and rim; one in the Capital Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Liu Liang-yu, Ming Official Wares, Taipei, 1991, p. 99 bottom; one sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27th April 1997, lot 71; and one included in Adrian M. Joseph, Ming Porcelains, Their Origins and Development, London, 1971, pl. 28, and sold twice in these rooms, 24th November 1981, lot 65, and again, 20th May 1986, lot 15.

Xuande stembowls of this form and size were also made with the 'nine dragon' design, where nine five-clawed dragons arranged in two rows with five above and four below, are painted on the bowl. For example see one included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Ming Dynasty Porcelains in the National Palace Museum, vol.1, Tokyo, 1977, pl. 79; and one sold in these rooms, 27th October 1992, lot 33.

Early Ming stembowls of this type were used as sacrificial vessels intended for the Buddhist, Daoist and family altars and belong to a small group of wares that were solely made for the domestic market. Dragons depicted as powerful rampant beasts, as seen on this stembowl, were first found on two objects from the tomb of the fourteenth son of the Hongwu emperor (1368-1398), Prince Zhu Tan, dated to 1389. One on a gold painted red lacquer box and the other on a red silk robe embroidered in gold, both decorated with the magnificent scaly dragon.

dimensions

15.2cm., 6 in.

provenance

Sotheby's Hong Kong, 28th April 1992, lot 32. 


*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.


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