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A Chinese late Ming blue and white armorial bottle
A Chinese late Ming blue and white armorial bottle

CIRCA 1590-1610

A Chinese late Ming blue and white armorial bottle
Circa 1590-1610
Modelled as a pilgrim flask, with a circular, drum-shaped body below the tapering neck and supported on a short rectangular foot, the front painted with the arms of Philip II of Spain and Portugal within a frame of scrolls issuing tulips, edged by a blue dotted band, the back decorated with flowering peony and bamboo issuing from rock-work, the sides with stylised lotus-scrolls, the neck with upright flower stems, the reduced neck mounted in metal
25.6 cm. high
S.C. Bosch Reitz (1860 - 1938) and by descent to the present owner.

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Lot Essay

The arms on this bottle were borne by Philip II of Spain (1556-98), ruler of Portugal 1580-98. However, the arms do not reflect a commission of the King, but rather were based on a silver Spanish coin, one of the ocho reales, or pieces of eight, that had become the world's trading currency by the late 16th Century. Spanish mines in the New World provided the silver, and mints in South and North America struck these coins, the first in Lima in 1570. It has been pointed out that bottles with this armorial decoration fall into two groups, one with a scholar scene painted to the back, the other with a floral decoration, as in the present example.
Bottles of this type, either with a floral of a figural decoration, are included in many museums around the world, for example in the British Museum (Jessica Harrison-Hall, Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, pp. 281-282, no. 11:13), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Peabody Musem, Salem (Highlights of Asian Export Art, p.14), the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, and the Tokyo National Museum.
Other examples were sold at Christie's New York, 21 January 2009, lot 16; Christie's, London, The Peony Pavilion collection, 12 June 1989, lot 401, and Christie's, London, 12 November 2002, lot 140 and 14 June 2001, lot 588, Sotheby's, London, July 12 2006, lot 76, and Sotheby's, London, May 14 2008, lot 547

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