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18. A RARE WUCAI INCENSE BURNER, HIIRE, MING DYNASTY, TIANQI PERIOD (1621-1627)

明天啟 五彩周敦頤香爐

The tapering cylindrical sides rising from a spreading foot to a straight rim, painted to the sides with two panels of figures in gardens and fishing in river landscapes and two with Zhou Dunyi admiring lotus, with a recessed unglazed base, pierced metal cover, Japanese wood box

Height: 8.4cm high 

Provenance: Purchased in Tokyo, 2014; Mujintang Collection. 

This well potted incense burner is unusual in that it has alternating panels of predominantly underglaze-blue, alternating with panels that are exclusively painted in overglaze enamels. There are four narrative scenes depicted on this hiire, two with Zhou Dunyi admiring a lotus; another of King Wen of Zhou seeking the advice of the scholar Jiang Ziya, later known as ‘Taigong Wang’; and another depicting the legendary Jiang Ziya retiring as a recluse to spend most of his time fishing after his disappointment with the reign of the Shang dynasty.

Sold on behalf of an Asian private collector to an English private collector in April 2021 for £4,400.

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