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A RARE EARLY MING SACRIFICIAL-RED-GLAZED ANHUA-DECORATED 'DRAGON' DISH
A RARE EARLY MING SACRIFICIAL-RED-GLAZED ANHUA-DECORATED 'DRAGON' DISH

Details
A RARE EARLY MING SACRIFICIAL-RED-GLAZED ANHUA-DECORATED 'DRAGON' DISH
XUANDE SIX-CHARACTER MARK WITHIN A DOUBLE CIRCLE AND OF THE PERIOD (1426-1435)

Finely potted with rounded sides rising to a flared mouth rim, the interior and exterior with a pair of anhua striding dragons, all under a copper-red glaze of mottled raspberry and blush tone draining to a translucent celadon above the foot rim, the rim of the lip and foot thinning to characteristic white (fine hairline through base)
7 in. (17.8 cm.) diam., box

Lot Essay

Previously sold in these Rooms, 1 October 1991, lot 764.

A number of superficially similar copper-red dishes exist, although a closer inspection reveals very subtle variations making each example a great rarity. Dishes of varying sizes exist with and without a flared mouth rim; glazed but otherwise undecorated; unmarked; inscribed with blue and white or incised reign marks; decorated in anhua or moulded with dragons; incised with three clouds; and decorated in 'resist technique'. It is widely accepted among scholars that the colour of copper-red wares were extremely difficult to control during the firing process; and there was a high rate of wastage caused by misfiring, examples of these destroyed pieces were excavated at the Jingdezhen kilns.

Only one other dish with striding dragon in anhua and bearing an underglaze-blue mark like the present example appears to be published, and was included in Special Exhibition of Xuande Wares, National Palace Museum, Taibei, illustrated in the Catalogue, vol. II, p. 42, col. pl. 656; and by S. Valenstein in A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, p. 159, pl. 153.

Other related examples with incised marks and no decoration are illustrated in the S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Catalogue, vol. I, col. pl. 120; by Joseph in Ming Porcelains Their Origin and Development, p. 73, fig. 99, from the Winkworth collection; and in Oriental Ceramics, Kodansha series, vol. 5, fig. 172, from the British Museum. Dishes incised with the 'three clouds' design are illustrated in An Anthology of Chinese Ceramics, p. 134, col. pl. 91 (with an incised mark); and Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 14, vol. pl. 31 (with an underglaze-blue mark). Other examples are illustrated by J. Wirgin in the Lundgren collection, Catalogue, no. 40, pl. 37:b; in Treasures from the Shanghai Museum, 6000 Years of Chinese Art, 1983, pl. XXXVI; and in Porcelain from the Tianjin Municipal Museum, 1993, no. 81.

An example decorated with dragons in the 'resist technique', where the pattern appears in silhouette, from the Edward T. Chow collection was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 17 May 1988, lot 11.
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