Provenance: Yamanaka & Co, Kyoto, May 15th, 1920. The original sales invoice is accompanying this lot. The invoice is made out to Mr. A. Spoerry, France. Listed in the Spoerry inventory as number 1002 and described as "Coupe Chinoise bleu et blanche, Date Chia Ching 1522-1566" (Chinese bowl, blue and white, date Chia Ching 1522-1566). A copy from the respective page of the inventory book handwritten by Mr. Spoerry is accompanying this lot. The base of the bowl still bears the original number 1002. Thence by descent within the Spoerry family.
Condition: Superb condition with only one 3 mm flake to the inner of the foot rim. Most likely this is only a manufacturing flaw. No hairlines, no chips, no cracks and no restoration! Some wear and minor surface scratches mostly to the well. A few tiny firing imperfections. Very good sound lasting for ca. 5 seconds.
Weight: 217.7 grams.
Dimensions: Diameter 15 cm.
Neatly potted with deep rounded sides rising from a slightly tapered foot to a gently lipped rim, the interior with a central medallion enclosing an en face five-clawed dragon writhing among foliate lotus within a double line-border, below a band enclosing a dragon and a phoenix alternating with lotus sprays on the interior rim, the exterior delicately painted to depict a mullet, a sole, a bream and a perch leaping or swimming among pondweed and lotus.
Fish have been a favorite motif for Chinese ceramic decorators for centuries because the word for fish (yu) is a homonym for the word for abundance or plenty. The particular design on this bowl, however, provides an additional, more complex rebus since the Chinese names for the four depicted fish are pronounced qing, bai, lian and gui, which combine to sound like the phrase qingbai lianjie, meaning 'of good descent, modest and honorable'. Thus, if presented as a gift, such a bowl would pay a most gracious compliment to the recipient. While numerous dishes with this design are known, porcelain vessels from this reign period are very rare.
The 'fish in water pond theme' appears to have been a popular motif in underglaze blue during the Jiajing reign as can be seen from two examples of dishes in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (II), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Commercial Press Hong Kong, 2000, pages 138-9, numbers 127 and 128, which in turn copied dishes of the Xuande reign, like the example in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in volume (I) of the same series, page 144, number 136. Fish motifs were also popular among jars of the Jiajing period, such as the magnificent blue and white example sold at Christie's London, 11 July 2006, lot 1111.
The founder of Yamanaka & Co was born Adachi Sadajiro in 1866 in Sakai and started working for his father who was an antique dealer. At the age of thirteen, he was sent to work as a live-in apprentice with Yamanaka Kichibei, a well-known antique dealer in Osaka. Sadajiro eventually married Yamanaka's eldest daughter and took the Yamanaka family name, a widespread practice among families without male heirs. Having observed westerners in newly opened Japan frequenting antique shops, Sadajiro began to think about opening a Japanese art shop in the United States. In 1894 at the age of 28, Yamanaka sent Sadajiro and his brother-in-law to New York to open a shop near Madison Square. It was an immediate success. In the early 20th century, Yamanaka & Co. began to sell more Chinese than Japanese art. During the Meiji period, the government imposed restrictions on the export of artwork. In addition, the escalating price of Japanese artwork made it difficult to gain profit abroad. In contrast, Chinese artwork flowed in large quantities to American and European art markets. The collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the ensuing civil war caused wealthy Chinese families to sell their collections. Moreover, looting by soldiers and antique thieves who excavated graves and temples led to a rampant black market.
來源：根據原始拍賣發票顯示1920年5月15日京都Yamanaka & Co，買家為法國 A. Spoerry先生。Spoerry 收藏編號為 1002 ，描述"Coupe Chinoise bleu et blanche, Date Chia Ching 1522-1566"。附帶Spoerry先生收藏目錄頁拷貝。碗底可見 1002字樣。至今一直保留在Spoerry 家族中。