A SUPERB AND RARE BLUE AND WHITE BOWL MARK AND PERIOD OF XUANDE finely potted with deep rounded sides rising from a short foot and flaring delicately at the rim, superbly painted overall in meticulous detail in vivid tones of cobalt-blue with characteristic 'heaping and piling', the interior decorated in the centre with a stylised Indian lotus flower, encircled by a frieze of Tibetan lanša characters, each resting on a lotus bloom enclosed by slender, undulating stems with curled leaves, all beneath a tightly drawn classic scroll at the rim, the exterior decorated with a composite floral scroll above an elaborate trefoil band around the base and below interlaced ruyi heads at the rim, the base inscribed with the six-character mark within double circles PROVENANCE Collection of Frederick M. Mayer. Christie's London, 24th June 1974, lot 93. Sotheby's Hong Kong, 14th November 1983, lot 95. EXHIBITED An Exhibition of Blue-Decorated Porcelain of the Ming Dynasty, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1949, cat. no. 68. Exhibition of Chinese Blue and White Porcelain, 14th to 19th Centuries, Oriental Ceramic Society, London, 1953, cat. no. 75. LITERATURE AND REFERENCES The Leshantang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, Taipei, 2005, cat. no. 7. CATALOGUE NOTE No other bowl of this design appears to be recorded, although a Xuande bowl of very similar shape, the interior painted with a related design but with a band of Tibetan script around the interior, was sold in these rooms, 23rd October 2005, lot 338. Compare another Xuande bowl of this type, its exterior decorated with billows and lotus scrolls, included in the Special Exhibition of Selected Hsuan-te Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1998, pl. 64; and a third related example sold in these rooms, 31st October 2004, lot 161. Flowers are symbols of prosperity and longevity, and the flowers represented on this bowl all resemble variations of lotus and carnation. It is extremely rare for a bowl to be decorated with a flower scroll of this combination, although similar flower scrolls can be found on other Xuande vessels. See a Xuande flask painted with a related flower scroll motif from the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Zhongguo wenwu jinghua daquan: Taoci juan, Hong Kong, 1993, no. 677. The Tibetan characters seen on this piece are an invocation denoting Homage and can be read 'on ah hum ha ho hri'. For other examples of Xuande wares decorated with Tibetan script, see two stembowls in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the 1998 exhibition, op.cit., pl. 106 (fig. 1) and pl. 107; and two 'monk's cap' ewers included in the Chang Foundation exhibition Xuande Imperial Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Taipei, 1998, cat. nos. 30-1 and 30-2.