A Small Ming Blue and White Porcelain Dish, Jiajing Period 1522-1566. Decorated with Two Male Figures in a Garden Landscape. The Reverse with Scrolling Flowers. The Base with a Poorly Drawn Four Character Mark Reading “Beautiful Vessel for the Rich and Honourable” (We would like to thank Mr S. Balmer for pointing out that the mark is not an apocryphal Xuande mark, as we had carelessly read it as).
Very good, a minute star crack to the glaze only, this is on the front at 2 'o clock ; c.6 x 4 mm. Very minor firing faults as is typical with this type of 16th century Chinese porcelain.
Diameter : 14.6 (5 3/4 inches).
For a dish with painting of a similar type see : The Philadelphia 1949 Exhibition of Ming Blue and White, with The Oriental Ceramics Society together with Chinese Blue and White Porcelain, 14th to 19th Century Exhibition by The Oriental Ceramic Society of 1953-1954 (The Oriental Ceramic Society 1954, Re-printed by H.F. Collins &Co 1985) page 153, item 211. For a pair of dishes of this type see : Cobalt Treasures, The Bell Collection of Chinese Blue and White Porcelain (Patricia F. Ferguson, Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Canada,2003. ISBN 0-9699386-4-0) page 42, plate 36.
Jiajing 1522-1566 :
From the beginning of Jiajing`s reign, he was infatuated with young women and Taoist pursuits. He was known to be a cruel and self-aggrandizing emperor and he also chose to reside outside of the Forbidden city in Beijing so he could live in isolation while ignoring state affairs. Jiajing employed incapable individuals such as Zhang Cong and Yan Gao, on whom he thoroughly relied to handle affairs of state. He abandoned the practice of seeing his ministers altogether from 1539 onwards and for a period of almost 25 years refused to give official audiences, choosing instead to relay his wishes through eunuchs and officials. This eventually led to corruption at all levels of the Ming government. Jiajing`s ruthlessness also led to an internal plot by his concubines to assassinate him in 1542 by strangling him while he slept. The plot was ultimately foiled and all of the concubines involved were summarily executed.