Auction: 16012 - Meiso Mizuhara, The Exhibition Collections, The Chinese Customs Post
Lot: 1515

China
1878-83 The Large Dragon Issue
Design Essays and Proofs
A pair of se-tenant design in fine brush painted on stout wove paper.


The first features the dragon guarding the Night-shining Pearl in black (paling to grey) with Chinese characters in black in a brown frame with country and value (mace) also in brown. To the left are the characters for the other values in formal style, for 1m., 2m., 3m. and 4m. Below the dragon the ground is indicated in pencil, plus some additional clouds, showing much of the shape of the finally accepted design.


The adjacent design is of a six-storied pagoda (indicating a foreign hand unfamiliar with Buddhist iconography) and with value in candarin. The design and frame is in black whilst the country and value are in brown. Again, to the left, are the characters of the alternative values.



There is a small drawing pin hole at the very top of the paper, presumable made by the artist, and a light horizontal crease or bend at the very top. A delightful and highly important pair of essays, the dragon being extremely close to the accepted design

provenance: Sir Robert Hart,

John A. Agnew,

Sir Percival David, October 1970



These stamps were designed by a Chinese artist. For a long time it was thought that the designer was Hosea Ballou Morse, an American who served in the Chinese Imperial Maritime Custom Service, though he denied any involvement.

It is thought that the pagoda is a representation of the Dragon Flower Temple and Pagoda located about six miles to the south of the old city of Shanghai. Pagodas are built with an odd number of stories.


Sold for HK$4,000,000

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