Qingbai porcelain bowl with incised decoration of three boys playing
A large qingbai porcelain bowl of deep conical shape, the thinly potted, steeply curved sides rising from a high foot and terminating in a circular rim. The interior is delicately moulded with a design of three boys playing amid scrolling floral sprays. The details of the flowers are engraved with a small comb. The bowl is covered in a translucent glaze of pale blue hue, leaving only the recessed based unglazed, showing the fine-grained white porcelain body, which is partly burnt red and displays characteristic black firing marks.
The body of this fine qingbai bowl is very thinly potted, rendering it translucent when a light is shone through it. The motif of boys playing amid flowers is a popular theme in Chinese iconography and symbolises a wish for many sons. A few qingbai porcelain bowls of closely comparable size, shape and decorated with two boys playing amid scrolling flowers, are respectively in the collections of the Palace Museum, Beijing, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Avery Brundage Collection at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and the Muwen Tang collection. The decoration featuring three boys at play, such as can be seen on the present qingbai bowl, is very rare. There are no other examples recorded and the closest comparison is a Northern Song yaozhou dish covered in a bright green glaze that is in the Muwen Tang collection.
Private collection, Japan
- Li, Huibing ed., Liang Song Ci Qi- Gugong bowuyuan cang wenwu zhenpin quaji, Shangwu yinshuguan, Hong Kong, vol. II, no. 182, p. 200
- Metropolitan Museum of Art online collection archive, accession number: 2011.201
- Pierson, S. ed. Qingbai Ware: Chinese Porcelain of the Song and Yuan Dynasties, Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 2002, no. 7, pp. 40-1
- Kwan, S. Song Ceramics- The Muwen Tang Collection Series Vol. 11, Hong Kong, 2012, no. 92, pp. 270-1
- Kwan, S. op. cit. no. 142, pp. 360-1