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    Sale 2611

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    27 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1754


    Price Realised  



    The dish thinly potted, with low rounded sides rising from a shallow foot ring to a flared rim with a gently rounded edge, finely enamelled in shades of pink, green, brown, yellow, white, black and iron-red, the exterior with three peaches on flowering branches besides two bats, the design continuing over the rim to the interior with a further five peaches and three bats, the glaze stops at the foot to reveal the white body
    6 1/4 in. (15.8 cm.) Japanese wood box

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    The present dish belongs to a group that are similarly decorated with a total of eight peaches growing on flowering branches accompanied by five bats, forming the auspicious wufu, in the Yongzheng period. Some of these dishes bear the six-character reign mark within double-squares as in the case of the present example; or on others the marks appear within double-circles.

    Peach dishes of this date and pattern are recorded in four sizes. Only one other dish of this size (15.8 cm.) is recorded, the example from the S.C. Ko Tianminlou collection illustrated in Chinese Porcelain, The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong, 1987, vol. 1, no. 104. Only one pair of dishes is known of smaller size (13.4 cm.), the pair from the T.Y. Chao Private and Family Trust offered at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 November 2007, lot 1760. Dishes of larger size are more common, the 20-21 cm. examples include the dish in the Nanjing Museum illustrated by P. Lam, in Qing Imperial Porcelain, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1995, no. 62; the dish in the British Museum illustrated in The World's Great Collections, Oriental Ceramics, vol. 5, Konansha Series, 1981, no. 226; and the example from the John M. Crawford, Au Bak Ling and Robert Chang collections was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 October 2003, lot 665. Examples of the largest size of this group (approximately 50.5cm) include one illustrated in Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Konansha Series, 1980 col. pl 63; and another in the Percival David Foundation, illustrated by R.E. Scott, For the Imperial Court, 1998, pl. 124, no. 48.

    It is believed by many scholars that this particular design was applied to vessels made for the celebration of imperial birthdays. The composition of eight peaches and five bats is very auspicious. The eight peaches symbolize longevity, and also through association with the peaches of longevity grown in the orchard of the Queen Mother of the West. The five red bats provide rebuses both for good fortune and for the Five Blessings of longevity, health, love of virtue, and a peaceful death. One of the names for the decorative scheme is guoqiangzhi which suggests the sound of changzhi, long peace under good government, which would provide a compliment to the Emperor and a wish for his reign to be a long one.


    Kumasaku Tomita