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A wucai 'dragon and phoenix' bowl 1 2 3

A wucai ‘dragon and phoenix’ bowl, Daoguang seal mark and of the period (2). Sold for HK$ 237,500 (€24,938). Photo Bonhams.

Finely painted around the exterior in underglaze blue and enamelled with iron-red and green writhing five-clawed dragons in pursuit of flaming pearls, divided by descending phoenix, all amidst blossoming leafy scrolls, below a band of linked ruyi-heads and bajixiang emblems at the rim, the interior centred with a medallion enclosing a single writhing iron-red dragon amidst flame scrolls, the base with a six-character zhuanshu seal mark; together with a blue and white bowl, Qianlong seal mark and of the period, unusually without the enamels. Each 15.6cm (6 1/8in) diam. (2).

Provenance: H.R.N Norton, London, sold to J.H. Myrtle on 12 October 1956 (wucai bowl)
J.H.Myrtle (both bowls)
Spink & Son (Australia) Pty Ltd., Sydney, acquired by the present owner on 1 September 1988 (wucai bowl)
An Australian private collection

Exhibited and Published: Chinese Ceramics, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, August-September 1965, Catalogue no.149 (blue and white bowl)
1000 Years of Chinese Ceramics, National Trust, Lindesay, Darling Point, Sydney, November 1970, Catalogue nos.74 and 75
Spink & Son (Australia) Pty Ltd., Acanthus, April 1988, p.21 (wucai bowl)
H.Myrtle, Late Chinese Imperial Porcelain, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2 August 1980 – 28 September 1980, p.19, no.19 (wucai bowl)

Note: The design for this type of ‘dragon and phoenix’ bowl was first developed in the Kangxi reign, and continued throughout the 18th century and into the late Qing dynasty. The Qianlong bowl in the present lot showcases how areas of the design were first executed in underglaze blue, with the rest of the decoration completed with low-fired enamels. Similar Daoguang mark and period bowls have been published including: one from the Simon Kwan collection exhibited at the The Chinese University of Hong Kong, illustrated in Imperial Porcelain of Late Qing from the Kwan Collection, Hong Kong, 1983, p.68, no. 44; and another illustrated by R.Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Gulexuan Collection, Lünen, 2003, no.139.