Pair of Large Kangxi Famille Verte Dishes Decorated with Qilin and Phoenix, Chinese Export Porcelain c.1700
A pair of large Chinese export porcelain dishes, Kangxi period c.1700. This pair of Kangxi Famille Verte porcelain dishes are decorated with a phoenix hovering above a Qilin with a flowering tree and bamboo. The bases have an under-glaze blue ‘Lozenge’ mark which is a pun on victory – sheng, it is also a demon-dispelling emblem. The lozenge is one of the ‘Hundred Treasures’ (Baibao).
Condition: In very good condition, one shallow chip c.10 x 5 mm ( see photograph) typical fritting found on Kangxi porcelain of this type.
Size: Diameter : 38.5 cm (15 inches).
Provenance:From a Private London Collection of 17th and early 18th Century Chinese Porcelain, originally purchased in Holland.
Stock number: 109
A Qilin (Kylin) is a mythical hooved Chinese chimerical creature. Despite its fierce demeanour it is a good omen that brings Rui (roughly translated as `serenity` or `prosperity`), longevity, illustrious offspring and wise administration. The scaly body has a dragons head, hooves and can appear to have fire issuing from its body. The male Qilin is called a Qi and the female a Lin. The male often has horns. These creatures carefully tread to avoid all living insects or destroy grass under foot, it is reputed to be able to walk on water as well as land. Qilin only appear to mankind when an emperor of the highest benevolence sits on the throne or when a sage is about to be born. There is a strong argument that the Qilin is a stylised representation of the giraffe. This is because the Qilin is referred to only since the Ming Dynasty. The time of its first reference correspond roughly with the voyages of Zheng He, there were seven voyages between 1405 and 1433 (Zheng He lived c.1371–1435). It is known that on Zheng He`s voyage to East Africa (landing, among other places, in modern-day Kenya), the fleet brought back two giraffes to Beijing. It is also known that these two giraffes were referred to as Qilins. The Emperor proclaimed the giraffes magical creatures, whose capture signaled the greatness of his power.