A Large blue and white ‘Dragon’ meiping, Wanli mark and period. Estimate 70,000 — 90,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby’s
sturdily potted with high rounded shoulders rising to a short waisted neck and lipped rim, boldly painted in rich cobalt-blue tones with a ferocious four-clawed dragon grasping a sprig of lingzhi in its mouth, the sinuous scaly body with trailing flame-like extensions, the head detailed with whiskers and a long mane, all between lappet bands around the shoulder and the foot, inscribed with a six-character reign mark; 63.8cm., 25 1/8 in.
PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION
Notes: Boldly painted with a striking image of a dragon wrapped around the body, large meiping vases painted in underglaze blue appear to have been popular with the Wanli emperor. Eight large vases and covers of this form, decorated with dragons amongst flower scrolls, have been recovered from the Dingling tomb of the Wanli Emperor in 1958, one of which is illustrated in Zhongguo wenwu jinghua daquan. Taoci juan [Gems of China’s Cultural Relics, Ceramics Section], Hong Kong, 1993, pl. H4.
Compare two closely related vases illustrated in Lu Minghua, Mingdai guanyao ciqi [Ming imperial porcelain], Shanghai, 2007, pls 3-97 and 3-98; a slightly smaller example published in Mayuyama. Seventy Years, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1976, pl. 952; one from the Sir Percival David collection and now in the British Museum, London, included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Underglaze Blue and Copper Red Decorated Porcelains, London, 1976, pl. 669; another vase in the British Museum, illustrated in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, pl. 11:32; and a smaller example sold at Christie’s New York, 26th March 2010, lot 1356. Vases of this form are also known painted with phoenix amongst clouds between similar borders; see a meiping included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition Ming Blue and White Porcelain, London, 1946, cat. no. 60, sold in these rooms, 8th July 1958, lot 13; and another sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 2nd May 2005, lot 646.
Meiping vases of this type closely follow the Xuande period (1425-1435) prototype; see for example a large vase painted in underglaze blue with a similar four-clawed dragon grasping a sprig of lingzhi, recovered from the Xuande stratum of the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen, included in the exhibition Imperial Porcelain of the Yongle and Xuande Periods Excavated from the Site of the Ming Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1989, cat. no. 88.
Sotheby’s. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Londres | 05 nov. 2014, 10:00 AM