BLUE AND WHITE DISH
EARLY 18TH CENTURY
20 cm diameter
The dish stands on a slightly tapering foot rising to rounded sides and everted rim. The interior is painted in underglaze blue with a pine tree growing from rocks, the top branches elegantly intertwined to depict the character shou. The gnarled stem grows amidst two blossoming orchids and three sprays of lingzhi. Swirling clouds approach from the right side of the composition. The rim is decorated with further branches of pine, repeated on the reverse side. The recessed base is inscribed with a six-character Chenghua mark within a double circle.
The decoration on this dish, finely executed in 'pencilled' style, is highly unusual and no other dish with this design seems to be published. The combination of pine (song), rock (shoushi) and the auspicious fungus (lingzhi) represents the wish 'May the aged pine honour you with longevity' (songling gongshou). This wish is emphasised by the stylised character for longevity (shou) formed by the branches of the pine tree.