Rare Chinese Ming Dynasty Blue & White Porcelain Bowl with Poem & Yongle Reign Mark - "Red Cliff" Pattern (with losses)
This rare and very interesting blue and white porcelain bowl was made during the latter part of the Ming Dynasty (c. 1620 - 1644). On the inner surface is the four-character Yongle reign mark (1403 - 1424) surrounded by a wide and elaborate circular border, the same border being repeated around the edge of the inner rim. The outer wall is decorated with what is known as the "Red Cliff " pattern, comprising a scene from, and the Northern Song Dynasty poem, Chi bi fu, by Su Tung-po (1036 - 1101). The three characters to the left of the river scene depicted say "Chi bi fu".
There are similar examples in both the British Museum and the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul. The fine book Ming Ceramics in the British Museum actually gives a full translation of the poem. Also of interest is that a bowl of this pattern is featured in two paintings by J. Linard dated 1627 and 1638.
Interestingly, this particular example was excavated from present-day Cambodia.
This bowl is of a good size with a diameter of 16.75 cm (6.5 inches). Sadly, there a section missing from the rim. In addition, there are hairlines either side of this loss and also a couple of minor chips to the rim edge. There are two areas of staining to the glaze, from long burial, that could presumably somehow be cleaned. This bowl does still, however, have a good ring when tapped.
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