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An underglaze-blue and copper-red-decorated basin, Early Kangxi period, circa 1670. Estimate $20,000 – $30,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015

The basin is decorated in the interior with a praying mantis on a large rock beneath a prunus tree with a butterfly fluttering above. The cavetto is decorated with peony and chrysanthemum sprays beneath a band of flowering prunus branches on the everted rim. The basin is supported on an plain unglazed channeled foot. 14 ¼ in. (36.2 cm.) diam. Lot 3580 – Price Realized $62,500

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Provenance: S. Marchant & Son, Ltd., London, 1985.
Collection of Julia and John Curtis.

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Notes: A basin of similar shape, decorated in underglaze blue and red and also exhibiting the channeled foot seen on the present lot, is in the Butler Family Collection and illustrated by Michael Butler and Wang Qingzheng in Seventeenth Century Jingdezhen Porcelain from the Shanghai Museum and the Butler Collection: Beautys Enchantment, London, 2006, pp. 224-225, no. 75. The Butler Family example is painted in the center with a ‘Master of the Rocks’-style landscape, but the decorative scheme is the same as on the present dish, as are the sprays of peony branches on the rim. Sir Michael Butler notes another related basin in the Percival David Foundation, London, that bears a Zhonghetang mark dating to 1671, and bases the dating of his dish on this marked example (ibid., p. 224).

The unglazed channeled foot that appears on the present lot and the two examples noted above, as well as on lots 3581, 3583, 3589, 3591 in this catalogue, appears to have been used by the potters at Jingdezhen for a short period of time around 1670, and disappears in the second half of the Kangxi period.

CHRISTIE’S. AN ERA OF INSPIRATION: 17TH-CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAINS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JULIA AND JOHN CURTIS, 16 March 2015,New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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