Sold Ceramics - Sold Blue and White Kangxi Period 1660-1722 - Dishes - Page 1
Height 30 mm (1.18 inch), diameter of rim 205 mm (8.07 inch), diameter of footring 115 mm (4.53 inch
Dish on footring with a flat rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with two "Long Eliza" figures standing in a fenced garden under a tree. On the flattened rim four panels containing flowering prunus branches reserved on a trellis diaper ground. On the reverse, two identical, elongated rocky shores with a pavilion. Marked on the base with the six-character mark: Qi yu bao ding zhi zhen, (Precious object of rare jade among treasured vessels (Kangxi)), in a double circle, underglaze blue.
Romance of the Western Chamber
The love story' Romance of the Western Chamber' (Xixiang ji) ranks among the most famous literary works of China. Its importance for young people can be compared to that of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' in the West. 'Romance of the Western Chamber' was written by Wang Shifu (1260-1336). There already existed a short story in the Tang dynasty titled 'Biography of Yingying' (Yingying Zhuan) by Yuan Zhen (779-831), but Wang Shifu adapted it by adding details and giving it a happy rather than a sad ending. It tells the story of a forbidden love affair between the civil servant Zhang Sheng, who is gifted, but of a poor family background, and the pretty Cui Yingying, daughter of the Prime Minister. The two young people have their first encounter in a Buddhist temple, where Yingying and her mother have taken lodgings when accompanying the coffin of the recently deceased father back home. Suddenly, the temple is besieged by a local gang of outlaws, who demand the daughter to be handed over. Yingying's mother promises her daughter's hand in marriage to whoever saves the daughter from falling into the hands of the gang leader. However, when Zhang succeeds in doing so with the help of General Du, his childhood friend, she does not keep her promise. The young couple start a secret affair, supported by Hongniang ('Lady in Red'), Yingying's maid. When Yingying's mother discovers the affair, she consents to the marriage on the condition that Zhang passes the final examination for the highest position in the civil service of the capital, Zhang does so well, that he is granted a top position. (Suebsman 2019, p.43)
On this dish we see the two characters Yingying and Hongniang admiring flowers in the gardens of Pujiu Monastery. The student Zhang is about to see Yingying for the first time and fall in love with her. There also is an 'Red & Gold' / 'Rouge-de-fer' with iron-red, black enamel and gold version of this motif. (Düsseldorf 2015, cat. 123.1 & Suebsman 2019, p.44)
For an (almost) identically decorated dish, please see:
- Chinesisches Porzellan, Die Ohlmer'sche Sammlung im Roemer-Museum Hildesheim (U. Wiesner, verlag Philipp van Zabern, Mainz am Rhein 1981), pp. 86-87, Kat. Nr. 31.
For an (almost) identically in 'Red & Gold' / 'Rouge-de-fer' with iron-red, black enamel and gold decorated version of this dish, please see:
- Sold Ceramics - Sold Red & Gold / Rouge-de-Fer 1690-1730 - Flowers, Animals and Long Elizas - Page 1 - Object 2011453.