A very old porcelain large bowl with Buddhist emblems and Sanskrit writing in a black blue cobalt that was made in China in either the 14th or 15th century.
The heavy large shallow bowl has a very thick and unctuous brownish crackle glaze; it feels oh so very smooth. Under glaze cobalt has been used to decorate the piece. The cobalt is very dark and almost black. There are rings in cobalt around the mouth and above the well. The cavetto is decorated in Sanskrit writing. There is an almost black design in the center of a Sanskrit Vajra or thunderbolt which is the emblem of the divine force of Buddha’s doctrine. The underside is also decorated with three equidistant canopies and ribbons. There is an unglazed border around the central well.
The bowl has an unglazed rounded foot with a glazed base. There is grit adhering to the foot and base.
Provenance: This dish belonged to Portland Art Museum and was deaccessioned. The museum’s inventory number is on the inside of the foot ring.
9 5/8” (24.4 cm) diameter x 1 13/16” (4.6 cm) tall. Weighs 1 lb 10.3 oz (745 g)
The bowl definitely shows its age, and does not ring like a bell. There are three hairline cracks running perpendicular to the edge, the longest of which is about an inch (2.4 cm) long. The cracks blend with the crackle glaze and so they are hard to spot. The bowl feels amazingly soft and smooth.
A large very old bowl with Buddhist designs that goes back to the beginning of blue and white porcelain. The Vajra design is very striking.