A small blue and white dish

Daoguang mark and period (1821-1850)

The dish with rounded sides supported on a straight foot is elaborately painted on the interior with flower heads amidst dense scrolling foliage below a border of cloud scrolls at the rim. The reverse is decorated with a similar floral frieze between a keyfret border at the rim and scrolling clouds at the foot. The base is inscribed with a six-character seal mark.

13.5 cm diameter



Formerly in the collection of David Ketel

David Ketel (1913-2006) was stationed in Beijing as Negotiation Representative during the 1950s, and a diplomat during the 1960s. Besides collecting Chinese art, he also became a skilled artist in Chinese painting.


The painting of the composite flower scroll in fifteenth-century style shows the typical characteristics of early underglaze-blue porcelain with inky tone and simulated ‘heaping and piling’. The dish is heavily potted, another characteristic of its early Ming prototype.

Variations of this traditional motif can be found throughout the Ming dynasty. Examples of early Ming prototypes of this decoration from the Yongle period (1403-1424) are illustrated by Krahl and Pope. A Xuande mark and period (1426-1435) dish is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

For examples of eighteenth century imitations of this classic motif on small dishes see Sotheby’s Hong Kong 2010. An identical Daoguang mark and period dish was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong 1985.

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