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Bowl

Chinese

Artwork Details

Bowl
1573-1620
Chinese
porcelain with glaze, and underglaze
3 5/8 in x 7 1/8 in x 7 1/8 in (9.21 cm x 18.1 cm x 18.1 cm)
Gift of Mr. Jennis R. Galloway
1971/2.112

On Display

Not currently on display

Description

The outer rim of this small bowl is decorated with the eight trigrams associated with the I Ching, the Chinese 'Book of Changes'. Each trigram represents a familial relationship, a body part, a point of the compass, an element (water, metal, wood, earth, or fire), a season the year, and a natural phenomenon. These symbols are used in traditional forms of divination; collectively, they represent the entire cosmos in balance.

Subject Matter:

A qinghua (清华) blue and white bowl of the Wanli period (1573-1620) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The outer rim of this small bowl is decorated with the eight trigrams associated with the I Ching, the Chinese 'Book of Changes'. Each trigram represents a familial relationship, a body part, a point of the compass, an element—water, metal, wood, earth, or fire—a season of the year, and a natural phenomenon. These symbols are used in traditional forms of divination; collectively, they represent the entire cosmos in balance.
The discovery of kaolin clay at Jingdezhen, Jiangxi led to the establishment of official kilns during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), and the production of pure, white, hard paste porcelain and porcelain decorated with underglaze blue. During the 13th century of the Yuan dynasty, with the establishment of Pax Mongolia, blue and white porcelains were exported to Europe and the Middle East, as both tribute gifts as well as for the overseas export market. This continued through the Ming dynasty where porcelain was used domestically by all classes of society. A vast array of forms and designs were made to appeal to a large and diverse overseas as well as domestic market.
One of the most popular forms of decoration was underglaze cobalt blue. During the Yuan dynasty, the principal source of cobalt came from Persia, in the Ming, however, local sources were found. The domestic cobalt, high in manganese and iron, resulted in a deep blue color with dark specks that has become known as a “heap and piled” effect, a hallmark of Ming qinghua (blue and white) wares, that was imitated in the later Qing dynasty.

Physical Description:

A small hemispherical bowl with everted rim on a straight footring, decorated with underglaze cobalt blue. The exterior depicts the bagua, or eight trigrams of the I Ching, around the rim, surrounded by stylized clouds with silk-worm pattern band around the interior rim. The bowl is covered in a clear glaze. 

Usage Rights:

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