A RARE AND FINELY DECORATED GOLD 'PEONY' DISH
A RARE AND FINELY DECORATED GOLD 'PEONY' DISH
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A RARE AND FINELY DECORATED GOLD 'PEONY' DISH

YUAN DYNASTY (1279-1368)

Details
A RARE AND FINELY DECORATED GOLD 'PEONY' DISH
YUAN DYNASTY (1279-1368)
The dish is finely chased in the center with a medallion enclosing seven, small ring-punches that form a circle within a border of overlapping hatching, all encircled by a wide band of densely arranged peony stems bearing five large blossoms on a stippled ground within a border of stamen. The flat, everted rim is chased with a band of foliate scroll below the rolled edge.
6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm.) diam.; weight 121.1 g
Provenance
Madame L. Wannieck, Paris, before 1937.
Dr. Johan Carl Kempe (1884-1967) Collection, Sweden, before 1953, no. CK53B.
Sotheby's London, Masterpieces of Chinese Precious Metalwork. Early Gold and Silver, 14 May 2008, lot 102.
Literature
P.W. Meister, 'Edelmetallarbeiten der Mongolen-Zeit', Ostasiatische Zeitschrift, No.14, Berlin, 1938, pl. 7.
Bo Gyllensvärd, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1953, cat. no. 53B.
Zhang Linsheng, 'Zhongguo gudai di jingjin gongyi', The National Palace Museum Monthly of Chinese Art, No. 14, Beijing, 1984, p. 59, fig. 32.
Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, The Museum of Art and Far Eastern Antiquities in Ulricehamn, Ulricehamn, 1999, pl. 51.
Chinese Ceramic Treasures, A Selection from Ulricehamn East Asian Museum, including The Carl Kempe Collection, The Museum of Art and Far Eastern Antiquities in Ulricehamn, Ulricehamn, 2002, pl. 51.
Exhibited
Cologne, Kölnische Kunstverein, Asiatische Kunst, 1926, cat. no. 44.
Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, Arts de la Chine Ancienne, 1937, cat. no. 168.
Copenhagen, Dansk Kunstindustrimuseum, Kinas Kunst i Svensk og Dansk eje, 1950, cat. no. 178.
Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, 1954-55, cat. no. 53B.
Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art, Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yüan Dynasty (1279-1368), 1968, cat. nos. 34a, 34b.
New York, Asia House Gallery, Chinese Gold, Silver and Porcelain. The Kempe Collection, 1971, cat. no. 22, an exhibition touring the United States and shown also at nine other museums.

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Lot Essay

Dishes with a flat rim encircled by a low ridge on the outer edge appear in silver beginning in the Tang dynasty, which is when silver began to be used on a more regular basis for fine vessels. During the Song dynasty dishes of this type continued to be made in silver, and also more rarely in gold, most likely for use at the imperial court. A gold dish of similar shape and slightly smaller size (15.4 cm. diam.), chased in the center with lotus decoration and with 'cash' diaper pattern on the rim, formerly in the collection of Christian Holmes and the Hon. Senator Hugh Scott, Washington, D.C., and now in the collection of Pierre Uldry, is illustrated in Chinesisches Gold und Silber, Zurich, 1994, p. 230, no. 272, where it is dated Song, as is a smaller (14.2 cm. diam.) silver dish decorated with a large peony stem, illustrated p. 230, no. 273. Also illustrated, p. 166, pl. 154, is a Tang silver dish of similar shape and comparable size (15.8 cm. diam.) which has the same central decoration as seen on the present gold dish. This central decoration of small circles in a ring within a circular medallion may represent a lotus pod, a motif seen in the center of lacquer 'lotus' dishes of Yuan date, such as the examples illustrated by Sherman E. Lee and Wai-Kam Ho, Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yüan Dynasty (1279-1368), The Cleveland Art Museum of Art, 1968, nos. 288-91. The inclusion of the central decoration on both the gold and silver dishes may imply that these dishes were made as cup stands.

These valuable gold and silver dishes are thought to be the inspiration for dishes of the same shape made at the Ding kilns during the 11th-12th centuries. Ding dishes of this type, also decorated with floral motifs in the interior, include an example in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 32 - Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (I), Hong Kong, 1996, p. 76, no. 67, and two examples illustrated by Tsai Meifen, Decorated Porcelains of Dingzhou: White Ding Wares from the Collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2014, p. 69, no. II-24.

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