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5. A BLUE AND WHITE MAPLE LEAF-SHAPED ‘DRAGON’ TRIPOD DISH, MING DYNASTY TIANQI PERIOD (1621-1627)

明天啟 青花楓葉型龍紋三足盤

The sloping sides rising to an everted rim, painted to the interior with an animated four-claw dragon chasing after a flaming pearl amongst flame scrolls below a thin foliage band at the rim and on three circular feet, Japanese wood box

Length: 20.7cm  

Provenance: Purchased in Kyoto, 2016; Mujintang Collection.

This sturdily potted leaf-shaped dish is boldly painted to the interior with an animated four-claw dragon in deep blue cobalt tones, which is reminiscent of dragons depicted on Wanli period blue and white vases and boxes. A similar dish has been excavated from the Honmaru Palace in Edo Castle, so it is evident that dishes of this type were used by the upper echelons of Japanese society.  1.  The inspiration for this design may have come from an earlier design from the The Fang Family Compendium of Ink Cakes, Volume 1. p. 39, illustrated below. 

 

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