A large famille verte charger

Kangxi period, 1662 – 1722, China
清康熙 1662-1722 中國

Diameter: 52 cm, 20.5 inches

Painted with a dynamic design depicting a tiger hunt that occupies the whole interior surface – like an open canvas, framed by a gilt border at the rim – this charger represents the pinnacle of famille verte porcelain. Hunters in armour, riding horses and carrying lances and swords, swoop past the defensive walls of a building from which a high official – possibly the Emperor – and his attendants observe the scene. The tigers are surrounded and hounded by dogs whilst, in the centre of the picture, two masked figures – one riding a lion, the other a fire breathing horse – bestow a mythical quality to the event.

The enamels stand out brilliantly against the white ground: there are three shades of green, overglaze blue, aubergine, yellow, black, red and gilding – at first glance creating an abstract riot of colour in the chaotic scene. The underside is painted in a bold and lively style – with eight horses riding over crashing waves, between four mountains, a double circle in underglaze blue, and a mark within a double square – known as a ‘shop mark’.

Similar Examples

La Maladie de Porcelaine, East Asian Porcelain from the Collection of Augustus the Strong, Edition Leipzig 2001 – no. 27. This shallow round dish contains many of the pictorial elements seen on the dish illustrated opposite – arranged in a similar format, and covering the whole inner surface. The dish depicts a scene from the historical novel History of the Three Kingdoms attributed to the writer Luo Guanzhong (1330 – 1400); its decoration is modelled upon popular 17th century wood block engravings. Another example from this group can be seen in one of our previous exhibition catalogues: A&J Speelman Chinese Works of Art, 2006

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