The Nineteenth Century / Republic of China
Emperor Qianlong's (r.1733-1795) abdication in 1795 ended an era characterised by Imperial patronage of porcelain production. Jingdezhen, the centre of porcelain production, no longer enjoyed Imperial favour. The result was a decline in the quality of the porcelain produced there and many kilns were closed. High-quality porcelain was produced only for special occasions and for the Imperial Court.
The ascension to the throne of Emperor Tongzhi (r.1862-1875) in 1862 changed the situation. His involvement with porcelain production resulted in higher standards and ensured that decorations applied by porcelain painters matched the quality of old, inspired as they were by shapes and decorations from previous dynasties. These developments continued after 1912, the year China became a People's Republic. (Source: Keramiek Museum Princessehof, Leeuwarden)
The Nineteenth Century / Republic of China - Page 1
Height 32 mm (1.26 inch), diameter of rim 192 mm (7.56 inch), diameter of footring 120 mm (4.72 inch), weight 333 grams (11.75 ounce (oz.))
Dish on footring, slightly everted rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with a central fruiting peach spray encircled by a pointed leaves pattern border in its turn encircled by two tiers of interlocking lotus panels containing alternating lingzhi fungus stems and fruiting peach sprays. On the reverse four fruiting peach sprays. Marked on the base with a square seal (shop) mark in a double circle, underglaze blue, In the centre, punched in the glaze after production, the Chinese character mark '堂 ' meaning 'Hall' and the symbol of wealth Cash one of the 'Eight Precious Objects'.
The Chinese character mark '堂 ' meaning 'Hall'
The symbol of wealth Cash one of the 'Eight Precious Objects'.
The punched in character mark '堂 ' meaning 'Hall' and the symbol 'cash' on this dish rare, most likely, a property brand and a wish for wealth from a previous owner. It is often seen on objects with a Malaysian, Indonesian or Philippine origin where a Chinese population group was present that used this type of porcelain. The interesting point is the question of why names were punched in a utensil. Obviously it meant to distinguish his dish from the others, but why? This is not necessary if it remains within the family. There are two possibilities I can think of:
- One is the guy was sharing a common eating place with other people. This could be a traveller, work labour away from home, or a sailor if it was found among the cargoes.
- The other reason could be the custom of the village. It was a popular way to celebrate something by hosting banquets at home in the villages (usually in open places outdoor, should it be a wedding, a birthday or anything. It was often an open event, i.e. all are welcome! That’s how close the ties were in those days. The quality of food will depend on the finance of the family, regardless how simple a meal. To do that, the family might have to borrow from the neighbours a lot of dishes, bowls, tables and chairs etc. Having the owner’s name there would definitely help to sort things out afterwards. (S.Fan, Australia)
Similar decorated bowls were found amongst the ceramic cargo of the Diana Cargo shipwreck 1817. Similar decorated dishes were found amongst the ceramic cargo of the Tek Sing Cargo c.1822 shipwreck.
Condition: A firing flaw to the inner footring some very shallow 'mushikui' or moth-eaten glaze rough spots to the rim and a hairline to the rim.