A polychrome yellow and green 'shou and dragons' square bowl. Jiajing six-character mark and of the period. Photo Bonhams

The thickly potted bowl with flared sides rising to a slightly everted rim, painted on all four sides of the exterior with a lively five-clawed dragon in flight amongst ruyi-head clouds, all within double-line borders, the interior with a stylised shou character in a double square in the center below a a frieze of fruit sprays at the rim. 11.9cm wide. Sold for HK$600,000

明嘉靖 黄地綠彩雲龍壽字紋方碗 青花「大明嘉靖年製」楷書款

Provenance來源: Formerly in a private Japanese collection

For an almost identical Jiajing period bowl with similar polychrome glaze and decoration in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, see Treasure from the Working of Nature: Eight Thousand Years of Antiquities Taipei, 2007, p.97.

See also a bowl with similar decoration in underglaze-blue on a yellow ground, illustrated in The 15th Anniversary Catalogue, Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, 1981, p.197, no.811; and an aubergine, green and yellow-decorated example illustrated in Chinese Porcelain: The S. C. Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong, 1987, Part I, p.118, no.70, where it is noted that square bowls of this type were popular during the Jiajing period, but their popularity declined after the Wanli period.

Bonhams. FINE CHINESE ART, 25 May 2011 to 26 May 2011, Hong Kong, Island Shangri-La Hotel www.bonhams.com