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Mid 15th century blue/white bowl
Hi all -
Attached images of a mid 15th century bowl acquired last week at one of the provincial auction houses …
A joint bid with a very old friend as a two piece lot, the other been a very nice early Ming Longquan stem bowl coveted in a deep sea-green glaze, which he really liked …
Obvious condition issues, last image, with damage section to mouthrim/body which, when illuminated by strong touch light, appears triangular in shape, but different to asserting full extent until my restorer strips down, as there is much yellowed overspray/old paint. The glaze exhibits some crackling, slightly warped and two small chips to footrim …
Still, its rather nicely painted in a a rich cobalt with peony scroll above lotus panels to exterior, interior with diamond dipper border, lotus scroll to cavetto and central peony spray all rendered in a simple yet fluent, bold style which is typical of the period. The leaves, in the shape of ‘duck’s webs’, turn beautifully in different directions, which I particularly like …
Based on the overall painting style, it can be dated fairly precisely to Jingtai/early Tianshun periods, 1450-1460 …
A very nice bowl Stuart. Well done. I think the painting is well above the average.
Absolutely lovely and the photos are very helpful. May I please ask how it can be dated so precisely - unless it is too complicated to explain. 😊
What a lovely piece. The painting looks treacherously simple but is done by a master with a lot of practice. The lower border reminds me a bit of Vietnamese porcelain of the same time.
Thank for sharing this lovely bowl.
Love the bowl... I really love the calligraphic style of the decoration, so freely drawn, yet so purposeful.
I hope and suspect the v shaped break is just a clean break with a bunch of overspray and will clean up nicely.
I recently got a subscription to Ko-antique, there is a very spot on bowl in the example of Tianshun bowls.
Stuart, lovely bowl, couldn't help noticing the different variation of the diamond diaper pattern below the interior rim, is it usual?
Stuart, lovely bowl, couldn't help noticing the different variation of the diamond diaper pattern below the interior rim, is it usual, requires more work in this variation?
Congratulations, Stewart! That's got a lot of stories to tell.
Reminds me of the bowls depicted as prised posessions in European paintings, like Bellini's Feast of the Gods from 1514.
Hi all -
Thank you very much for all your kind opinions and comments on this bowl, it’s very much appreciated …
The pieces produced during this period have been of special interest to me for nearly 20 years. As there were, and still are, very misunderstood and therefore misinterpreted, I was able to ‘buy against the market’, so to speak and acquire some nice examples at very reasonable prices …
Since the major finds of such pieces in 2014 at the Imperial kiln site and subsequent exhibitions at the Gugong, Palace Museum Beijing, Art Gallery, University of Hong Kong, Tang Ying Society, Jingdezhen and Shanghai Museum and the publications for these, academic and therefore collecting focus has greatly increase and, as such/as always, prices for authentic examples have greatly increased and are now largely beyond me means to acquire …
Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, this means the fakers have also jump on the ‘band wagon’, and I have seen numerous copy's of these wares turning up over the last few years …
So very happy to acquire and, personal, the damage does not bother me …
Julia, Sharon and Steve,
I will answer your individual questions when information and images are collated …
Nice bowl. These bowls were made in the imperial kilns? I didn't know that.
Hi Julia -
The dating framework for these wares is mostly base on tomb finds and, to a lesser extent, shipwrecks, but both have there difficulties. Whilst tombs provide a ‘finite date’, objects placed within may come from earlier periods. The cargos of shipwrecks can be rather harder to date, with ceramic dating usually based on the motif style, designs and overall compositions …
The reigns of Zhentong, Jingtai and Tianshun, or so called Interregnum or ‘blank/dark’ period, only lasted 29 years. Whilst the 2014 Imperial kilns have greatly help in identifying and understanding of wares produced for the court, the situation of princely/elite commission and wares produced in the private kilns is still very complex and discussions on dating attribution is still ongoing and, somewhat, controversial …
The drawing of the exterior peony scroll on the bowl is very similar, but not identical, to a pair of vases unearthed from a tomb dated to 1451 at Dexing City in 1989, image 2. A tripod-shaped censer with three different flower sprays was also unearthed from the same tomb, but the overall drawing style of the motifs on this piece is rather different, image 3 …
Flowers such as peonies were very popular on private kiln wares, but the drawing of the flowers/leaves exhibit many varieties in style. Image 4 shows one of a pair of vases unearthed from a tomb dated to 1453 in the eastern suburbs of Jingdezhen city, now in the Coll of the Jingdezhen Ceramic Museum, and images 5/6 show two pairs of vases with different flower/leaves Such difference are undoubtedly due to commissions/patronage and markets, workshops/kilns and experience/skill of the painters …
The ‘duck-web’ like leaves seem to have appeared in late Xuande/early Zhengtong period, as seen on the meiping, image 1, attributed to Zhengtong/early Jingtai period and continues to be used in to the Tianshun period …
Other aspects of the decoration, such as the wide diamond dipper border, the detailing of which is quite freely drawn, the lotus scroll with triangular/flame like leaves and the lotus panels with thick outer/thinner inner lines all show continuations of motifs seen on Zhengtong period wares, but executed in a slightly more freer manner …
The overall shape/proportions, cobalt/glaze tone and trimming/finishing of the footrim are also continued over from the Zhengtong reign …
So all rather complex/difficult - but so very interesting …
Hi Cory -
No, this is a private kiln piece …
The Imperial wares from these three reigns are very different, the Zhengtong pieces unearthed in 2014 continue/following on from Xuande whilst the Tianshun wares are precursors to, and in many aspects mirror, early Chenghua pieces …
Stuart, thank you so much! I really appreciate your tsking the time to write such a detailed explanation. I learn so much from your posts.
I hope you won't mind if I save your post off-site for future reference? Obviously, I won't do anything either it ither then use it as a learning aid.
A most desirable bowl you have bought my friend.
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