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Chinese porcelain plate decorated in underglaze cobalt blue (qinghua), the centre divided in two halves, the top shows a pagoda, geese, a lake and a four-character inscription, the bottom part an upside-down scene with flowers, birds and another four-character inscription, Tianqi/Chongzhen reigns, Ming dynasty.
Stock Number: 5190
Rare Chinese porcelain plate decorated in underglaze cobalt blue (qinghua) on the rim and cavetto under a Greek key an unusual “negative” lotus scrolling, the centre divided in two halves, the top shows a pagoda, geese, a lake and a four-character inscription, the bottom part an upside-down scene with flowers, birds and another four-character inscription, c. 1625, Tianqi/Chongzhen reigns, Ming dynasty, d. 21,5 cm, 8½ in. 1-19375
• Late Ming, Chinese Porcelain from the Butler Family Collections, by Sir Michael Butler, Luxembourg, 2008, page 67 for a plate with identical inscriptions;
• Seventeen Century Chinese Porcelain from the Butler Family collection, by Sir M. Butler, M. Medley and S. Little, 1990 Art Services International, p. 51, cat. 13 for a similar plate but without the inscriptions.
◆ Translator’s notes: the four-character inscription on the upper half reads yan ta ti ming, (May your name be inscribed on the wall of the Yan Ta Pagoda). Yan Ta (Wild Goose Pagoda, now located in Ci’an temple in Xi’an city), is one of the signature buildings in Chang’an, the capital city of Tang Dynasty (618-907). During Tang Dynasty after the Imperial Examination, all the highest rank candidates - Jinshi inscribed their names, hometowns and dates on the wall of Yan Ta.
The second four-character inscription on the bottom half reads xin lin chun yan (May you enjoy the imperial spring banquet in the apricot grove). Apricot grove in Chinese is pronounced as xin lin, spring is pronounced as chun, swallow and banquet share the same pronunciation in Chinese – yan. This phrase is also related to the Imperial Examination. After taking the exam and before leaving for Yan Ta, the Jinshi candidates were invited to the imperial banquet held at the apricot grove in Qujiang, Chang’an.
Both phrases are commonly used in China as best wishes for students and wish them great academic achievements.
• 《Butler家族收藏的明末中國瓷器》，作者M. Butler爵士，2008年盧森堡出版，參見第67頁相同銘文；
• 《Butler家族收藏的十七世紀中國瓷器》，作者M. Butler爵士、M. Medley及S. Little爵士，1990年國際藝術服務公司出版，參見第51頁編號13一類似的盤子，惟沒有銘文。