A small green, aubergine and yellow-glazed dish
Guangxu mark and period (1875-1908)
The thinly potted dish is decorated to the centre in green and aubergine with two incised scaly dragons chasing a flaming pearl, encircled by alternating fruit and flower sprays below the rim. The reverse is painted with two qilong dragons separated by scroll-shaped lingzhi, all reserved on a yellow ground. The base is inscribed with a six-character mark in black enamel.
10.9 cm diameter
Formerly in the Weishaupt Collection
Sold at Sotheby’s Amsterdam, 17 October 1995, lot no. 306
A Dutch private collection
Green and purple dragons on a yellow ground were designated to the guiren, the fifth rank of concubines. The sixth and seventh rank could only use polychrome pieces without any imperial yellow.
This type of dish, with green and aubergine dragons against a yellow ground in the interior, can be found in three different sizes throughout the Qing dynasty, each size with a different exterior. The largest is decorated on the outside with cranes, the medium size with grape vine and the smallest one with chilong dragons. A pair of similar Kangxi mark and period dishes with chilong dragons on the exterior is in the Shanghai Museum.
The origin of this design with purple and green dragons on a yellow ground seems to go back to the Wanli period of the Ming dynasty. A Wanli mark and period dish with green and aubergine dragons on a yellow ground is in the Bauer Collection.