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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Porcelain bowl. The bowl has a fine white body. There are prunus trees in blossom painted in sepia, a poem of ten characters in black, and three seals in pink enamel on the exterior. A pair with PDF 827.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1723-1735
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 63 millimetres
    • Diameter: 127 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        on sides
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

        月幌見踈影, 墨池聞暗香
      • Inscription Transliteration

        yue huang jian shu ying; mo chi wen an xiang
      • Inscription Translation

        The moon ripples (and I) see the shadow of a branch moving; at the ink-black pool you can smell the secret fragrance’
      • Inscription Comment

        Stephen Allee translates:
        On the moonlit curtain, one sees their scattered shadows,
        By the ink-stained pond, one smells their dark fragrance.notes:

        "I believe that the term yuehuang 月幌 (moonlit curtain) refers to a curtain or cloth screen on which the shadows of plum blossoms are cast by moonlight – which was the original inspiration for the tradition of painting this subject in ink.
        The term mochi 墨池 (ink pond) refers to the pond where Wang Xizhi cleaned his brushes and inkstone, turning the water black. From this, the term came to be used as a reference to: 1. an inkstone; 2. the place where one practices calligraphy (or ink painting); or 3. a writing/painting brush made with lamb’s wool for the inner core and rabbit fur for the outside.
        The terms shuying 踈影 (scattered shadows) and anxiang 暗香 (dark fragrance) are descriptive of plum blossoms and derive from a poem by the famous plum fancier, Lin Bu林逋 (967–1028), who wrote numerous poems on the subject.

        Peter Y.K. Lam notes that:
        This poem is unidentified, it is not included in the Peiwenzhai collection.
      • Inscription Type

        reign mark
      • Inscription Position

        on base
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Yongzheng nian zhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made in the Yonghzeng reign
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

        先春'; '壽古'; '香清'
      • Inscription Transliteration

        xianchun, shougu, and xiangqing
      • Inscription Translation

        Early spring; very ancient; fragrance pure
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Qing Yongzheng 1723-1735Room 95 label text:

    PDF 828

    Bowl with prunus flowers and poems

    Under court instructions, this bowl was decorated in shades of black enamel with winter-flowering plum trees, a ten character poem and with three puce enamel seals. Sir Percival David bought them from Alfred E. Hippisley (AD 1848–1939), a British Customs official in China who translated the poems in AD1900. A century later, the poem月幌見踈影, 墨池聞暗香 (yue huang jian shu ying; mo chi wen an xiang) translates more literally as ‘The moon ripples (and I) see the shadow of a branch moving; at the ink-black pool you can smell the secret fragrance’. The seal before the poems reads 先春 (xian chun ‘early spring’); and the two after the poem read 古月(guyue ‘ancient moon’); and 香清 (xiang qing ‘pure fragrance’). The winter-flowering plum design derives from traditional and contemporary Qing ink painting. On the base is a four-character Yongzheng mark in a double square in blue enamel.

    Porcelain with transparent glaze made in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, overglaze enamels added in Beijing
    素瓷器: 江西景德鎮燒製; 北京加琺瑯彩
    Qing dynasty, Yongzheng mark and period, AD1723–35


  • Bibliography

    • Hobson 1934 p. 173, pl. CLXXII(b) bibliographic details
    • Hippisley 1902 p. 406, nos. 328 and 329, pl. 19 bibliographic details
    • Lady David 1973 p.14, no.828, pl. III bibliographic details
    • Scott 1991 p.26, no.828 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2002 p.89, no.95 (right) bibliographic details
    • Krahl & Harrison-Hall 2009 pp 88-89, no.47 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    R. L. Hobson, 1934 records: From the Hippisley Collection.See Hippisley "A Sketch of the History of Ceramic Art in China", p.406, Nos.328 and 329 where the poem is translated. PDF card: Acquired in the U.S.A. for $3000 in 1925 with PDF 827. Previous owner: Hippisley Collection.

  • Department


  • Registration number


Fine white porcelain bowl. Painted in sepia with prunus trees in blossom and a poem of ten characters in black, to which are appended three seals in pink enamel. A pair with PDF 827.

Fine white porcelain bowl. Painted in sepia with prunus trees in blossom and a poem of ten characters in black, to which are appended three seals in pink enamel. A pair with PDF 827.

Image description



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Object reference number: RRC39160

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