R8632

A pair of Chinese porcelain famille rose  square dishes painted with the Yang family lady equestrians, each on a different coloured horse, riding through an archway and a vine-covered arbour, while three gentlemen look on from a terrace, the raised rim decorated in the corners with books and scrolls in iron-red and gilt, tied with ribbons on octagonal pink diaper ground with flowerheads, the bases unglazed.

10 ⅛ inches, 25.7 cm square.

Yongzheng, 1723-1735.

Formerly in the collection of a titled English family, Somerset.

Formerly in the collection of Richard Ponsonby-Fane of Brympton d’Evercy, Brympton House, Somerset. Richard Arthur Brabazon Ponsonby-Fane was born in 1878 in Gravesend. In 1896 he served as Private Secretary to the Governor of the British Cape Colony in Cape Town and for the next two decades, his career in the British Empire’s colonial governments spanned the globe. He worked closely with many Governors particularly in Hong Kong in 1903 and was posted to Natal in 1907 and after 1919 was posted as private secretary to the Governor of Hong Kong. He became a professor at the University of Hong Kong until his retirement in 1926. Although he became a permanent resident of Japan, he often spent four months at a time in Hong Kong. In 1921, when the Japanese Crown Prince visited Hong Kong en route to Europe, Ponsonby-Fane was introduced as his interpreter. When Emperor Shōwa was enthroned in 1928, he was the only non-Japanese guest who was invited to witness the ceremonies from in front of the palace’s Kenreimon gate. In 1930, when HIH Prince Takamatsu and his wife travelled to Europe, Ponsonby-Fane sailed on the same ship; and he was invited to attend all the welcoming receptions for them in England. Ponsonby-Fane died at home in Kyoto in December 1937.

The tradition of the Yang family generals and their military exploits, over several generations, dates from the Northern Song dynasty when they were famous for their remarkable bravery in defending the Song borders from foreign invaders. While several generals of the Yang family are profiled in historical texts such as History of Song,  the Ming-dynasty novel Generals of the Yang Family  includes folklore and stories that deviate from actual historical records. The Yang family lady generals practising before going to war, because their husbands were wounded, has become a favourite subject and is a symbol of unflinching loyalty.

No other dishes of this shape appear to be recorded.

A large Yongzheng circular dish and a Qianlong bowl of this design from the Martin-Hurst Collection is illustrated by George C. Williamson in The Book of Famille Rose , pl. XLIV and pl. L respectively; another large Yongzheng dish from the collection of Augustus the Strong, King of Saxony and Poland, is illustrated by Friedrich Reichel in Die Porzellansammlung Augusts des Starken , no. 21, p. 43.

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