A Fahua Decorated Chinese Vase – Cobalt Blue –19th/20th
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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Pottery: Pre 1940: item # 1135479
Please refer to our stock # ICHI 3803 when inquiring.
Ichiban Japanese & Oriental Antiques
Post Office Box 395
Marion, CT 06444-0395
This beautiful vase is made with the techniques known as Fahua – see footnote #1 below. The vase has low relief designs of bamboo, plum blossoms and flowering bushes. The vase measures 6 5/8” high and iw 5 ½” diameter at the widest part of the shoulder.
It has a zitan wood cover – see footnote #2. The cover is beautifully carved in a traditional pattern of scrollwork. The cover does not perfectly fit the vase – so it is most probably a replacement for an earlier lid. The vase is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks or restorations. We believe it dates from the late 19th to early 20th century. There is a raised mark on the base - Wang Bing Rong Zuo" (Made by Wang Bing Rong). Turn of the century Chinese ceramist Wang Bing Rong worked in the fahua manner and used this mark.
Footnote # 1- The term fahua refers to Chinese wares with bold decoration in deep blue, turquoise, purple, green, yellow, and white alkaline glazes. The motifs are usually outlined by raised trails of white slip. Because of this technique, fahua wares are regarded as the ceramic versions of cloisonné, where the design elements are separated by copper wires. Fahua wares were produced from the fourteenth century, both in Shanxi province, northern China, and in southern China, probably at Jingdezhen, site of the imperial kilns. The high-fired porcelain body and palette employed are typical of those fahua wares made in southern China. Fahua pieces are generally thickly potted.
The decorative technique was used to ornament a wider range of vessel types including garden seats, wine jars and vases. The main decoration of this vase is lotus flowers and insects above waves.
Footnote #2 – Zitan Wood historically been valued in China, particularly during the Ming and Qing periods, referred to in Chinese as zitan and spelt tzu-t'an by earlier western authors. It has been one of the most prized woods for millennia. The wood has a beautiful grain that has been called “hare’s fur” – the wood is quite dense and heavy.
Between the 17th and 19th centuries in China the rarity of this wood led to the reservation of zitan furniture for the Qing dynasty imperial household. Since then, many of the furniture items that were broken were made into smaller piece such as this cover, brush pots, scroll weights, etc.