PERIOD: 16th Century
A BLUE AND WHITE CIRCULAR BOX AND COVER WANLI SIX-CHARACTER MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE WITHIN A DOUBLE CIRCLE AND OF THE PERIOD (1573-1619) The domed cover painted in deep cobalt-blue with a raised medallion containing cranes in flight amidst peach and lingzhi sprigs interspersed with wispy clouds and auspicious emblems, the rounded sides of both box and cover with quadrilobed cartouches with pairs of cranes to either side of a peach or linghzi fungus, flanked by further auspicious emblems, reserved on a wan diaper ground, the rims with raised bands containing a continuous lingzhi scroll, all within double line borders 11¼ in. (28.3 cm.) long, Japanese wood box Lot Notes The cranes, peaches, lingzhi and wan emblems are all symbols of longevity, and suggest that this box, with its inner contents, may have been presented as an Imperial birthday gift. Compare with three Wanli-marked boxes of closely related pattern, but lacking the additional peach sprig to the primary medallion on the cover. The first is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 35 - Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (II), Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 109; the second is illustrated in Chinese Ceramics in The Idemitsu Collection, Japan, 1987, fig. 732; the last from the Toguri collection is illustrated in Sekai toji zenshu, vol. 14, Tokyo, 1976, pl. 103, and was later sold at Sotheby's London, 9 June 2004, lot 43.