Large Chinese Ming Dynasty Enamelled Porcelain Dish - Phoenix
This fine "Swatow" (or "Zhangzhou") porcelain dish was made in the sixteenth century, most likely during the Wanli Reign (1573 - 1620) of the Ming Dynasty. As is the case with many Swatow pieces, it is quite "heavily-potted" and coated in a thick glaze with, to the underside, various pieces of kiln grit embedded within the glaze. Here and there are lines of crackle within the glaze.
Of all Swatow dishes of this general type, those decorated in underglaze blue are the most common and well-known; examples decorated with polychrome enamels items are much more scarce.
The decoration is provided by red, green and turquoise enamels, the pattern featuring two birds with outstretched wings (phoenixes or possibly pheasants - both are closely related and are auspicious emblems), surrounded by various floral and geometric patterns. As the coloured enamels are on the surface of the glaze (as opposed to underglaze), they are subject to wear. The softest, and most prone to wear, is the red enamel, and many examples of Ming enamelled porcelain have had the red enamel touch-in with paint. On this example, however, the enamels are in exceptional condition with only very minor wear to the enamels, and there is no red paint replacing the red enamel !
Diameter 25.5 cm (10 inches). There is a very small rim chip (see magnified image) but otherwise this dish is in fine condition with no repair or restoration and has a good ring when tapped.
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