A fine blue and white ‘Lotus scroll’ bowl, Mark and period of Xuande. Estimation 3,000,000 — 4,000,000. Photo Sotheby’s
finely potted with deep rounded sides rising from a slightly tapered foot to an everted rim, the exterior painted with shaded tones of cobalt-blue with characteristic ‘heaping and piling’ with five large lotus blooms borne on a leafy scroll meandering around the bowl, all between a broad key-fret band and upright stylised lotus petal lappets, the interior similarly painted with a central medallion of a lotus bloom wreathed in leafy scrolls, surrounded by a composite floral scroll around the cavetto, the inner rim bordered with a band of stylised florets issuing from a foliate scroll, the foot bordered with a classic scroll band, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark within a double circle; 19.5 cm., 7 5/8 in.
PROVENANCE: Kochukyo Co., Ltd., Tokyo.
NOTES: Exemplifying the refinement of the classic early Ming aesthetic, this bowl embodies the ideals of harmony and precision in its decoration. The floral blooms on both the interior and exterior flow seamlessly around the vessel, and are carefully bordered by a variety of decorative bands that also serve to enhance the gentle curves of the bowl. In its fine potting and smooth and tactile glaze, the present bowl displays the characteristic ‘heaping and piling’ of the cobalt-blue painting to give the designs depth and texture – a much-copied trademark of imperial blue-and-white from the early Ming dynasty.
A closely related example is published in A Panorama of Ceramics in the Collection of the National Palace Museum. Hsuan-te Ware I, Taipei, 2000, pl. 76; and another in the British Museum, London, is included in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics, London, 2001, pl. 4:24, together with a slightly smaller example, pl. 4:25. Bowls of this type are more commonly found of slightly smaller size; see one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Ming chu qing hua ci, vol. 2, Beijing, 2002, pl. 149; another, from the Eumorfopoulos and Braithwaite collections, sold in these rooms, 30th April 1991, lot 12; and a third example, formerly in the Alfred Clarke collection, published in Chinese Porcelain. The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, pt. 1, Hong Kong, 1987, pl. 21.
These bowls are inspired by earlier bowls of the Hongwu reign, which were decorated with a simpler design of a flowerscroll between keyfret borders; see one excavated at Dongmentou, Zhushan, included in the exhibition Imperial Hongwu and Yongle Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1996, cat. no. 14; and a copper-red decorated example from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (I), Shanghai, 2000, pl. 222. During the Yongle reign the design was embellished with further decorative bands; see a Yongle bowl illustrated in John Alexander Pope Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, Washington, 1956, pl. 47 (top left); and a slightly smaller example included in the exhibition Beauty and Tranquillity. The Eli Lilly Collection of Chinese Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, 1983, cat. no. 90.
Xuande bowls of this type are also known decorated with lotus scrolls on the exterior; see one from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in the Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (I), Shanghai, 2000, pl. 153; and two in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in A Panorama of Ceramics in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, op. cit., pls 74 and 75.
Sotheby’s. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. Hong Kong | 08 oct. 2014, 03:00 PM