The lingzhi fungus she holds in her hand and the stag with a peach in its mouth are also symbols of longevity while the blossoming prunus tree represents youth and new life.
However, equally arresting is a wheel-engraved inventory mark for the collection of Augustus the Strong (1670-1733). His passion for porcelain bordered on an obsession: he owned more than 29,000 pieces of Chinese and Japanese porcelain when he died in 1733.
This plate can be dated with some accuracy since the inventory books at Dresden reveal that dishes of this kind were acquired in 1727.
A number of similar plates and dishes with the same design and inventory number have appeared on the market. This example had been in a Hampshire family collection for over four generations. At Lyon & Turnbull’s (25/20% buyer’s premium) sale of Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art on November 5 it was expected to bring £5000-8000 but sold at £32,000.
Porcelain from the experimental Yongzheng period continues to set a benchmark in the market. From the same source was a pair of 10in (25cm) famille rose ‘lady’ plates, one with the subject playing a musical instrument and the other holding a fan and accompanied by a cat. These took £24,000.