21 September 2004,
Price realised USD 62,140
USD 15,000 - USD 20,000
A RARE IRON-RED-DECORATED BLUE AND WHITE STEM CUP
WANLI SIX-CHARACTER MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE WITHIN A DOUBLE CIRCLE AND OF THE PERIOD (1573-1619)
The tall spreading stem foot with flat base and the deep bowl with slightly everted rim decorated in bright underglaze blue with breaking waves, those on the bowl surrounding leaping mythical sea creatures painted in iron red and arranged in two registers, the five larger beasts, including a winged elephant, in the upper register, the four smaller ones in the lower, the nianhao in the center of the interior below a double line border at the rim
3 7/8 in. (9.8 cm.) high
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The design of this stem cup is based on earlier Xuande prototypes on which the sea creatures are reserved in white against the wave ground. For an example of this earlier type, formerly in the Brankstone Collection, see J. Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, p. 128, no. 4:13, where the author notes that the nine mythical creatures can be found in Shan Hai Jing (Classic of the Seas and Mountains), "a book completed in the Han dynasty by Liu Xiang and his son, revised and illustrated by Guo Pu in the Eastern Jin dynasty". The theme regained popularity during the 15th century.
Sir Harry and Lady Garner, no. 57.
Venice, Chinese Art, 1954, no. 724.
London, Oriental Ceramic Society, The Arts of the Ming Dynasty, 1956, pl. 45, no. 191.
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