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    Sale 2711

    The Imperial Sale, Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    27 May 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1863

    A PAIR OF FINE AND RARE LATE MING WUCAI DISHES

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF FINE AND RARE LATE MING WUCAI DISHES
    WANLI SIX-CHARACTER MARKS WITHIN DOUBLE-CIRCLES AND OF THE PERIOD (1573-1619)

    Each with shallow rounded sides, the centre of the interior depicting the Daoist, Zhang Daoling, riding on a yellow tiger, brandishing a sword in one hand fighting the 'Five Poisons': the viper, the spider, the toad, the centipede and the scorpion, in a landscape of pine trees, rocks, flowers and clouds, the cavetto decorated with three of the Five Auspicious Subjects, the mugwort, sweet flag and pomegranate flowers, the exterior decorated with alternating Five Poisons and Five Auspicious Subjects, above a short foot encircled by a classic scroll band, all painted and enamelled in bright tones of red, green, yellow and blue
    5 5/8 in. (14.2 cm.) diam., box (2)


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    Previously sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 19 May 1981, lot 435 and sold again, 30 April 1996, lot 363.

    The depiction of Zhang Daoling, the Five Poisons and Five Auspicious Subjects are popular motifs for the Duanwu festival, the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Considered the most poisonous day of the year, many of the themes associated with the Duanwu festival relate to the desire to combat evil forces and poisonous creatures. The legendary hero Zhang Daoling who cuts through evil with his sword; wudu, Five Poisons, with their toxins combined to counteract any pernicious influences, the wurui, Five Auspicious Subjects, are believed to protect against evil or poisons. Like the present pair of dishes, the fingerlike leaves of mugwort are portrayed together with the sword-like leaves of sweet flag to represent a hand holding a sword, to ward against evil vapours and poisonous insects during the Duanwu festival. The pomegranate blossoms symbolise the fifth lunar month, as the fiery red colour was believed to ward against evil as well as being the colour of joy. The pine and cypress present on the dish are emblematic of longevity, reliability and hardness.

    Provenance

    Edward T. Chow Collection


    Literature

    E. T. Chow and Helen D. Ling, The Complete Collection of Ming Dynasty Kingtehchen Porcelain from The Hall of Disciplined Learning- Collection of E.T. Chow, vol. II, Hong Kong, 1950, no. 115


    Exhibited

    Chang Foundation, Taipei, Chinese Art from the Ching Wan Society Collections, 1998, no. 39