These pieces are innovative by the extreme care in realizing the porcelain, both fine and sturdy with a tactile quality that will never be available again. The gently curved shapes of their walls are also new, in several variants.
Cups are used for wine and bowls for food. These pieces bearing the imperial mark are mainly made for the use of the principal concubine Wan Guifei whose demands were evidently extreme. They are highly rare and not even found as failed or waste pieces, demonstrating the rigorous surveillance made on site in Jingdezhen by imperial eunuchs.
This limited production was so expensive that the emperor's advisers were able to terminate it after about ten years, during the 20th year of the reign corresponding to 1485 of our calendar, two years before the death of the emperor and his concubine.
The color technique is not new: cobalt blue in two hues for bowls and doucai for cups. The drawing is innovative with asymmetrical compositions often adorned with spirals. The chicken cups are prestigious. One of them in an admirable state of preservation was sold for HK $ 280M including premium by Sotheby's on April 8, 2014.
The bowls decorated with flowers can be exquisite such as the musk mallow bowl sold for HK $ 140M including premium by Sotheby's on 8 October 2013. Vines of melons are a rare theme symbolizing an auspicious prosperity to the offspring. The bowl from the Meiyintang collection with a nice balance of blue and white was sold in post sale for HK $ 90M at Sotheby's on April 7, 2011.
On April 6 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells another melon bowl, lot 25 estimated HK $ 50M. This piece is unique in the details of its pattern by the quantity and density of the fruit. Its size is 15.4 cm in diameter.
SOLD for HK$ 64M including premium