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Imari Bowl information?

Here are a few pictures of a footed bowl, 26.3cm in diameter and 11.5cm high, it is underglaze blue with the colors of red, green and gold. It is beautifully simple in its decoration of flowers and berry's, it's thin porcelain with a glaze of a grayish/blue color under a halogen light, and grayish/green under an OTT-lite which is a natural color fluorescent light, used by many in the jewelry business. I would like to know if you could help me with some information on this?


Early Chinese export porcelain pounche bowl

This is a early Chinese export porcelain pounche bowl. It is from the early years of the 18th century, possibly from the Kangxi (1662-1722) period since green enamels of the "Famille Verte" palette occur together with the traditional "Imari" decoration in iron red, gold and underglaze blue.

The decoration is a descendant of the Ming dynasty decoration called "Wanli wucai" or "five color enamels".

The most likely market for this bowl would have been England since Sweden had not started to trade with China at this time and the Dutch preferred blue and white. The quality and the high price this bowl must have commanded should only have made it interesting for the British "private trade", where it was widely recognized that every ounce in cargo mattered and the higher the quality the higher the profit, when eventually back home in England.

Another point is that the "pounch" was invented on board the East Indiamen as a cure to scurvy. The sailors thought the officers intended to trick them out of their beer when they were offered "lemon juice" instead, and flatly refused to drink it if it was not mixed with the two ingredients their tedious and salty diet made them want most of all - sugar and alcohol.

The alcohol that was the least expensive for the company to buy, was a local brew from Java, namely "arrack" which is more or less the Arabic word for "moonshine"

This bowl could therefore perfectly possibly have been put you use at the Captains table directly on departure from Canton around the year 1700.

As an afterthought I might ask you to carefully examine the decoration for a pinkish red mixed with a white enamel. Some tones in the pictures make me a bit uncertain. If this occurs anywhere in the decoration we have to add about 30 years to the age of the bowl, since this did not came into use before the 1730's.

Sincerely,
Jan-Erik Nilsson



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