Published: November 23, 2004
The crowded auction room at Bonhams & Butterfields burst into applause seconds after a record-setting price was attained for a rare and large example of a Ming underglaze copper red dish recently discovered within a San Francisco estate. The dish, for years used to serve meals to a Bay Area family, sold for $5,726,250 on November 17 after competitive bidding via telephone from three international clients.
The magnificent 18-inch-diameter dish dates from the Hongwu period (1368-98) – the era in which Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned. As one of very few surviving large underglaze copper-red circular everted rim dishes from this era, it appears to have the most brilliant color of all known and published examples.
The dish came to auction from the San Francisco estate of Elinor Majors Carlisle, and was cautiously carried on a global tour (New York, London, Hong Kong, San Francisco) during which time museum curators, private collectors and high-end dealers inspected the piece. The successful bidder was Giuseppe Eskenazi of London, one of the world’s most respected dealers of Asian art.
A complete review will appear in a future issue.
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