From our Chinese Polychrome Collection, a high quality Rose Medallion plate, 19th century either Tongzhi Period (1862-1874) or Guangxu Period (1875-1908). Executed in the typical palette of pinks, blues, greens, yellows, whites and gilt with four individual cartouches: Two contain various figures usually representing scenes from either The Romance of the Western Chamber or The Dream of Red Mansions, the other two contain birds and foliage. All are set against a ground of flowering tendrils and gilt borders, with a center medallion ringed in gilt.
Rose Medallion is probably the most ubiquitous and easily recognized antique Chinese porcelain pattern, and is usually familiar not only to novice collectors, but even non-collectors alike. What is often lost, however, in the ubiquitousness of this genre, is the fact that there is tremendous difference in the quality of these pieces. There are a lot more poor and mediocre quality pieces out there than there are good and superior quality pieces. But this plate, which is one of a set of three, is about as high quality as these relatively unpretentious plates can be. The enamels here are lively but "soft," not "glassy" and "shiny" as many of the lesser pieces and later reproductions tend to be. The gilding is gold and not brass colored, the people are very realistically rendered with extra attention paid to details like gilt highlights in the women's hair. Overall, the plates are simply very pretty and alluring to even the untrained eye. Another measure of quality is in the execution of the flower tendrils. Nancy Schiffer, in Chinese Export Porcelain, Standard Patterns and Forms 1780-1880, presents a very useful illustration of the varying degrees of quality in the execution of these tendrils. While her illustrations are in black and white and do not reproduce well here in photographs, those with the book should take a look, page 28, plates 68-73. The execution of the flowering tendrils here is "tight" and as well done as they can be. We think these plates are most attractive as a set of three displayed together, but we are willing to sell them separately.
Size and Condition: Plate #2: 9 1/2 inches in diameter, 2-3 minor nicks to the gilding on the rim, 1 or 2 of which look like they might have a Japanese style gold lacquer repair.