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A Kosometsuke Dish with Three-phoenix Design
青花「古染付」三鳳凰.紋瓷盤

Diameter: 20.0 cm. (7 7/8 in.)
Height: 4.1 cm. (1 5/8 in.)

Late Ming dynasty
17th century

 

(NOTE: Further information is provided below the detailed images.)

Details:

 

 

 

Box inscription:
古染付鳳凰文皿
“Kosometsuke Phoenix-decorated Dish”

 

The dish is something of an anomaly. The wooden box inscription identifies the piece as kosometsuke and some of its physical characteristics support that identification, for example, the very slightly askew shape– almost imperceptibly so, the small bit of fritting of the glaze around the mouth rim, the minor accumulation of kiln grit around the foot and a somewhat irregular or imperfect foot formation, and even the bright liquid blue of the painting, However, the mark, which is unreadable and likely not intended to be read, is quite uncommon on kosometsuke. One of two almost identical three-phoenix dishes is illustrated in the Topkapi compendium (fig. 1). Their four-character marks, fu gui jia qi, “wealth, honor, fine vessel,” are written in stylized characters in underglaze cobalt on the bases and the dishes are ascribed to the 16th century in accord with several pieces in similar style bearing Longqing era (1567-1572) reign marks.1 It is not unreasonable to assume, however, that the reign marks, either casually, perfunctorily or clumsily written, should be thought of as apocryphal as are the earlier Ming Chenghua and Jiajing marks that are frequently found on such late Ming wares as kosometsuke, either in reference to a glorious bygone time or simply as part of a decorative program. An example illustrated by S.T. Yeo and Jean Martin is ascribed to the 17th century during the late Ming dynasty (fig. 2). Another dish with related décor in the British Museum is identified as a product of a Fujian kiln, is described as “Swatow-type,” is dated to the first half of the 17th century and was quite likely created under the influence of Jingdezhen’s very lucrative porcelain, in this case a three-phoenix dish.

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  1. See Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, A Complete Catalogue, vol. II: Yuan and Ming Dynasty Porcelains, London, 1986, p. 707.

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Fig. 1: Underglaze-blue decorated porcelain dish with three-phoenix décor, Ming dynasty, 17th century, Topkapi Saray Museum Istanbul, after Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, A Complete Catalogue, vol. II: Yuan and Ming Dynasty Porcelains, London, 1986, fig. 1212, p. 707.

 

Fig. 2: Underglaze-blue decorated porcelain dish with three phoenix décor, Ming dynasty, 17th century, after S.T. Yeo and Jean Martin, Chinese Blue & White Ceramics, Singapore, 1978, no. 120, pl. 65.

 

Fig.3: Underglaze-blue decorated dish with three phoenix décor, Swatow ware, Ming dynasty, first half 17th century, British Museum, London, after Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, no. 11:120, p. 320.

 

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