It was made in the era (1620- 83) when court patronage of the porcelain factory at Jingdezhen all but dried up. Instead, ceramics were made for merchants, scholars and for export with production far more diverse than during ‘imperial’ times.
Blue and white vases such as this (originally made with covers) are among the most recognisable products of this era, freely decorated with extravagant landscapes or scenes from popular literature.
Once the epitome of old European collecting taste, they are increasingly expensive.
This example standing 10in (25cm) high has a Jiajing six-character mark but probably dates from c.1640. It was in good condition, although with some minor bruises to the rim.
Contested in the Rayleigh, Essex, sale for seven minutes online and over four phone lines well above the £1000-1500 guide, it sold to a European agent on behalf of a Chinese client at £36,000.
A similar sum was bid by a Chinese buyer for another good example of blue and white at Chorley’s (22.5% buyer’s premium) in Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire, on September 20-21.
Offered together with a provincial blue and white cargo dish of little value was an 8in (21cm) roundel worked with a ‘line and wash’ portrait of the goddess Guanyin. Estimated at £150-200, the hammer was £38,000.
Pieces with this distinctive type of decoration, made as inserts to table screens or other items of furniture, and are associated with latter part of the Chenghua reign (1465-87).
A number of similar examples dated to the 1480s have been sold at auctions in New York and Hong Kong at sums that would suggest the hammer price was appropriate.
Estimated at £600-900 but sold at £33,000, a pair of Kangxi (1662- 1722) mark and period blue and white dishes topped Gorringe’s (25% buyer’s premium) sale in Lewes on September 27.
Measuring just over 6in (15cm) across, these are finely painted with scenes from Romance of the West Chamber, the still popular Yuan dynasty story of star-crossed lovers, while to the underside are river landscapes.
Both dishes have been later drilled with two holes through the foot for a metal wire hanger and had short hairline cracks. However, they are apparently from the same workshop as another pair of Kangxi dishes bearing marks reading gishi baoding zhi zhen (rare stone precious as a treasured ding) that were sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in November 2021 for HK$18,000 (around £18,000).