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An extremely rare cloisonné enamel rectangular censer and cover,
fangding

33cm (13in) wide. (2).

An extremely rare cloisonné enamel rectangular censer and cover, fangding
Wanli enamel six-character mark and of the period.

Brightly enamelled on the longer sides with a central stylised shou medallion flanked by wan symbols and two writhing dragons amidst trailing clouds, the shorter sides with a double-crescent halberd flanked by carps and a pair of camelia flowers, the openwork lid with two writhing long-bodied dragons separated by an elaborate flaming pearl finial, all supported on four cabriolet legs emanating from intricate lion-masks (enamelling retouched in small areas).

£70,000-100,000
Provenance: The collection of Sir Basil Gould

It is extremely rare to find a fanding of Wanli mark and period of this large size. However, an almost identical fangding was sold at Sothebys, London, 16 June 1999, lot 720, but without its original cover.

A further example, complete with its original cover, but of a smaller scale is in the Palace Museum, Beijing and illustrated in Metal-Bodied Enamel Ware. The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, p.53, pl.51.

16th century cloisonné is rarely found with a genuine reign mark; only a few other reign-marked pieces of the Wanli period appear to be know. See Garner, Chinese and Japanese Cloisonné Enamels, p.67, and and pls.47a and b, for a small box and cover with similar shou medallions from the collection of Sir Percival David, now in the collection of Pierre Uldry, included in the exhibition Chinesisches Cloisonné, Museum Rietberg, Zurich, 1985, cat. no. 112; and Garner, op. cit., pl.47c, for a dish, both with a six-character mark within a rectangular panel on a 'cloud swirl' ground similar to the present piece.

all text & images Bonhams

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