A small white-glazed anhua-decorated dish

18th century

The dish with rounded sides rising from a tapering foot is finely incised to the interior with two striding four-clawed dragons amidst cloud scrolls, each chasing a flaming pearl. The exterior is incised with three further cloud scrolls below the gilt rim. The dish is covered with a pure white glaze.

12.5 cm diameter

Provenance:

Formerly in the collection of Gerard Dissevelt

Gerard Dissevelt (1912-1992) was a Dutch ambassador who was stationed in China and Japan during the 1950s.

This fine thinly potted dish has a particularly attractive white glaze which is reminiscent of early Ming white glazes. The design becomes visible when the dish is held against the light.

Anhua is a term used in Chinese ceramics meaning ‘secret decoration’. The designs are produced by incising into the porcelain before glazing and firing. Incised, carved or mould-impressed decoration on monochrome white wares such as Dingyao and Qingbai was widely used during the Song dynasty. However, the term anhua is mainly used for the very finely incised decorations which became popular in the Yongle reign of the Ming dynasty (1360-1424) and continued throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties.

A larger Kangxi mark and period example, similar to the present dish, was sold at Bonhams London. An early Ming example with this type of decoration is illustrated in the Meiyintang Collection.


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