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Bowl with bamboo and cranes in falangcai painted enamels, Yongzheng reign (1723-1735), Qing dynasty

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Accession Number
Bowl with bamboo and cranes in falangcai painted enamels
Yongzheng reign (1723-1735), Qing dynasty
H. 6.7 cm;Diam. 15 cm;Diam. of base 6.1 cm
Significant Historical Artifact


This bowl has a wide mouth and narrow rim, deep curving walls, and a short ring foot. The bowl is completely coated in white glaze, except for the underside of the ring foot, where the unglazed white body can be seen. One side of the exterior surface is decorated with a painting of lingzhi and immortal birds, symbolizing good wishes for immortality. The painting depicts a pair of red-crowned cranes standing on blue decorative rocks, surrounded by green bamboo trees, lingzhi, and pink camellias. On another side, a pair of high-spirited paradise flycatchers, perched to the left and right, gaze at each other and call to their companions. Yet another side is adorned with a poem inscribed in ink, stating, "Waking from a light sleep to see the pine flowers fall, stopping from a dance to hear the mountain streams burble." The leading red seal has two characters, "feng cai (beautiful writing)," and the two mood seals at the end of the poem respectively state, "dan ran (equanimity)" and "jun zi (gentleman)." The interior of the bowl is plain and unadorned. On the underside of the base, four blue characters in Song-style script have been inscribed, stating, "Yong Zheng Nian Zhi (Made in the Yongzheng Reign)." The inscription is surrounded by a double-square frame. According to the records of the Imperial Workshop, the Emperor Yongzheng was highly concerned with the manufacture and decorative patterns of painted enamel porcelain during his reign, and often issued imperial edicts to the painters of the Imperial Workshop, ordering them to provide decorative designs. As a result, the patterns on painted enamel porcelain of this time gradually took on the style and characteristic features of Imperial Workshop paintings. For example, the pair of red-crowned cranes seen in this work are reminiscent of the paintings of Giuseppe Castiglione in both form and detail. The two lines of poetry derived from the famous poem, "Cranes," by the Tang poet Zheng Gu, also help to enhance the literary sense of the decorations. The influence of imperial tastes unexpectedly resulted in the convergence of elements of poetry, calligraphy, paintings, and seals on this ordinary bowl, to create the delicate and elegant aesthetics characteristic of the literati.