A blue and white 'dragon' box and cover. Wanli mark and  period. photo Sotheby's

of well potted rectangular form with indented corners resting on a short foot, the cover with a rectangular panel enclosing two five-clawed dragons contesting a 'flaming pearl' amid cloud swirls and above rolling waves crashing against rockwork, surrounded by lotus blooms on meandering leafy stems above a keyfret band, the box decorated with a similar scrolling lotus meander below a keyfret band, inscribed on the base with the six-character mark within a double rectangle (2) length 9 1/2 in., 24.2 cm - Estimate 25,000 - 35,000 USD

PROVENANCE: S. Marchant &Son, London, 2004.

NOTESA Wanli box of this design is included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Tokyo National Museum: Chinese Ceramics, vol. II, Tokyo, 1990, pl. 108; another from the Lauritzen collection in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, is illustrated in L.Reidemeister, Ming-Porzellane, Leipzig, 1935, pl. 38; and a third from the collection of Chester Beatty was sold in these rooms, 10th December 1968, lot 62; see also a box similar in design and size sold in our London rooms, 12th June 2003, lot 150.


A rare 'wucai' dish. Wanli mark and  period. photo Sotheby's

painted with a dragon supporting a 'flaming pearl' surrounded by four further dragons in iron-red, green and yellow enamels and underglaze-blue, the reverse with flower sprays in underglaze-blue - diameter 12 5/8 in., 32 cm - Estimate 10,000 - 15,000 USD

PROVENANCE: Christie's Paris, 7th December 2007, lot 150.


A rare blue and white reticulated box and pierced cover. Ming dynasty, Wanli period. photo Sotheby's

of circular form, the cover with a reticulated linked-coin design surrounded by a band with four panels filled with peony sprays reserved against an intricate diaper ground encircled by a keyfret band, decorated with similar panels on the base, the interior revealing the glaze of grayish-glue tone, the base glazed white (2) diameter 9 1/4 in., 23.5 cm - Estimate 25,000 - 30,000 USD

PROVENANCE: S. Marchant &Son, London, 2004.


A rare 'wucai' brush box and cover. Wanli mark and period. photo Sotheby's

the domed cover, base and sides painted with paired five-clawed red dragons pursuing 'flaming pearls' opposite flying phoenix, the interior of the cover and base painted with scattered clouds, the base divided into a larger and a smaller compartment (2) length 11 7/8 in., 30.2 cm - Estimate 30,000 - 40,000 USD

NOTES: A  wucai box of this pattern in the Shanghai Museum is illustrated in Chugoku Toji Zenshu, vol. 21, pl. 38. Compare also the Wanli 1981, no. 856, and box in the Idemitsu Museum of Art painted with the same design in underglaze-blue, illustrated in the 15th Anniversary Catalogue, a wucai-decorated box in the Tokyo National Museum painted with two dragons, illustrated in the Hirota Collection Catalogue, no. 151.


A 'wucai' saucer dish. Wanli mark and period. photo Sotheby's

the central medallion depicting two long-maned lion reclining on a riverbank with a qilin and a deer gamboling in the foreground and watched by two horses and a dragon in the water, the rounded sides with birds on flowering branches detailed with iron-red, yellow and green - diameter 10 3/4 in., 27.3 cm - Estimate 10,000 - 15,000 USD

PROVENANCE: Thomas Barlow Walker Collection. 

Sotheby's New York, 28th September 1972, lot 747.

Sotheby's New York, 16th January 1976, lot 261.


A large blue and white jar. Ming dynasty, Wanli period. photo Sotheby's

of stout ovoid form, painted in underglaze-blue with alternating shaped rectangular panels of peony and lotus plants above a lappet band around the foot and panels of peaches at the shoulder, all reserved on a fretwork ground - height 17 in., 43.2 cm. Estimate 5,000 - 7,000 USD

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. 23 Mar 2010. New York www.sothebys.com