Late Ming, Tianqi Period, ca. 1620s
This bowl is decorated in underglaze cobalt blue with a stylized design of two birds perched on a sprig of flowers and encircled by stems covered in little round buds, giving the design an abstract quality. The base is unglazed and shows the characteristic chatter marks from the trimming, often seen on Tianqi wares. The footring is unglazed with numerous sand grains adhering. The outer sides have two hastily drawn circles and X's. There is considerable rim fritting as seen on most porcelains of this period. There is a small rim chip, also. It was probably shipped to Japan for use in the Japanese tea ceremony, shortly after it was made. Tianqi porcelains were in high demand among tea ceremony practitioners, even in the 1970s, when this piece was acquired.
Height: 2 in., Diameter: 6 1/8 in.