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401. Fisherman Plate
China, Yongzheng Period (1723-1735) c. 1730
Ø: 21.2 cm
A semi egg-shell famille rose porcelain plate, delicately painted with a scene of four fishermen holding nets and creel. On the slanting rim, is a continuous landscape with boats and men fishing with a rod, spear and nets. The water is represented by washes of a lustrous green enamel. The palette is predominantly green tones; except the reverse, which has three flower-sprays in pink enamels on the rim. In China fishing was considered a poetic ideal, associated with a peaceful life in the country. Fish are also a symbolic of abundance be it food, offspring or wealth. This type of scene would no doubt have been inspired by the emergence woodblock printing from the Ming Dynasty, which popularised the depiction of everyday activities in China.
- James Garland Collection USA, inv. no. 888 label
- With Joseph Duveen, New York.
- JP Morgan Collection, USA inv. no. 1112 label
- Anton Dreesmann Collection, The Netherlands
- Christie's Amsterdam 10-4-2002
- Private Collection, The Netherlands 2018
The labels on this plate testify it was in the Garland, as well as in the Morgan, collection in the latter part of the 19th century. Morgan’s collection , which was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum, was sold by his son to the Duveen Brothers in 1913. Through them this large collection was dispersed, many pieces being sold to the next generation of affluent collectors such as Rockefeller and Frick. This plate re-emerged on the market in London in 1990, where it was bought by avid Dutch collector Anton Dreesman (1923-2000).
Similar plates are in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum (nr.c.426-1926), London and Lady Lever Gallery, Liverpool (nr.LL66 & 67). A slightly later plate with a similar décor, but a different colour palette, is in the Lichnowsky Collection, Prague. The collection The British Museum holds a print of fishermen (nr.1928,0323,0.21).