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442 & 437 Egg & Spinach Bowls
China, early Kangxi period (1662-1722)
H: 8.5 cm ø: 19 cm
Danielle Carasso Collection, France
These fine bowls, on a high foot ring, flare slightly outward towards the rim. They are distinctively covered on both interior and exterior with a splashed sancai (tri-colour) glaze in yellow, green and aubergine-brown. The foot rims and underside are mostly covered in a translucent glaze, the base has a double ring in dark brown.
In China this décor is known as the hupiban (tiger-skin) pattern and referred to in the West as Egg & Spinach or Tortoiseshell decoration. The French also refer to it as ‘harlequin’. This colour combination is in use in China since the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), when it was used on lead-glazed pottery. With Kangxi porcelain, this unusual splashed effect was created by applying stained glazes with a large brush directly onto the fired biscuit body coated with slip. It was then covered again with a clear glaze and fired again at a lower temperature of about 900°C. Some areas of the body-colour show through the clear glaze, forming a fourth white colour.
Similar Kangxi bowls from the imperials kilns, with a blue-and-white reign mark, are in the collection of the Palace Museum (Beijing) and the Shanghai Museum. Other examples, without the imperial mark, can be found in the Groninger and Ulrichehamn East Asian Museums.
Gunhild Avitabile & Stephan graf von der Schulenbrug, Chinesisches Porzellan, Aus Beständen Des museums Für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt am Main, 1992, p.167, nr 240
Christiaan J.A. Jörg, Famille Verte. Chinese Porcelain in Green Enamels, Exhibition Groninger Museum, 2011, p. 128
Leif Petzäll (ed.) & Erik Engel, Chinese Ceramic Treasures; A Selection from Ulrichehamn East Asian Museum, including The Carl Kempe Collection. Catalogue Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Ulrichehamn, 2002, p.423
Manuele Scagliola, Nera Laura (coll.Rose Kerr & Luisa Mengoni), East Asian Ceramic: The Laura Collection, Turin, 2012, nr 244
Kangxi Porcelain Wares; from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Catalogue Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 1998, nr 139
Suzanne Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1989, p.235