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  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)

  • Date:

    1910 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in underglaze blue

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Peter Wain

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery, case 29

In the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) Jingdezhen potters experimented with new forms and glazes, often with support from the emperors and state officials. Chinese porcelain was admired and collected all over the world. The tradition of inscribing the emperor's reign title on the wares continued. The decoration on this small bowl painted in underglaze blue is typical of the early 20th century.

Physical description

A small bowl with no footring, the exterior painted in underglaze blue with individual floral sprays, the inside plain. On the base is an eight-character mark in two vertical lines:

Xuantong gengxu year, made for the Hall of Appropriate Spring.

Yichun Tang (Hall of Appropriate Spring) was the studio name of Liu Shiheng (1875-1937), alias Juqing, native of Guichi, Anhui. An unofficial history describes him as an ardent collector of antiques. His most famous acquisitions were two pipa (a musical string instrument similar to a guitar) called the Great and Small Hulei (literally 'sudden thunder'), reputedly dating to the time of the Tang Emperor Wenzong (828-840). To commemorate that congratulatory event he gave himself one more studio name: Shuang Hulei Ge (Chamber with the two Sudden Thunders), bringing his studio names to a total of 23.

Liu himself had not held important posts in government. The family fortune was made by his father Liu Ruifen (1827-1892) who was assistant to Li Hongzhang (1823-1901), one of the most influential ministers of the 19th century. Liu Shiheng's financial position was apparently not affected by the political turmoil during the last few years of the Qing empire, for he had placed two orders for porcelain - one in 1909 and one in 1910. Thus objects with the Yichun Tang mark have either the cyclical year jiyou or gengxu written on them. Based on published material all Yichun Tang pieces are blue and white wares. A dish and a bowl, both made in 1910 and both painted with three dragon roundels, make very interesting comparison because whilst the decoration and the mark on the bowl are slightly blurred, the dish is fired to a sharp blue and the painting is crisp. This shows that pieces from the same order, thus presumably from the same firing, are not necessarily of uniform quality.

Qing dynasty, Xuantong period, 1910

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)


1910 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in underglaze blue

Marks and inscriptions

On the base is an eight-character mark in two vertical lines: Xuantong gengxu year, made for the Hall of Appropriate Spring.


Height: 2.8 cm, Diameter: 7.8 cm

Descriptive line

Bowl, Porcelain painted in underglaze blue, 1910, Jingdezhen

Labels and date

Small bowl with floral design
Xuantong reign period, dated 1910
'Hall of Appropriate Spring' mark on base
Jingdezhen kilns, south China

Porcelain painted in cobalt blue
Museum no. FE.131-1996
Peter Wain Gift [2007]





Subjects depicted





East Asia Collection

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