- Museum number
Two double-gourd-shaped porcelain bottles with underglaze blue decoration and silver mounts. Both bottles have a similar gourd shape with compressed globular lower bulb and pear-shaped upper section; each stands on a foot ring. Interestingly the upper section is very finely potted and the lower section very thickly potted. The join of the upper to lower section is encircled with a tarnished silver band and the rim is mounted in silver with a chain and a ring attached to secure a cover which is now missing. The bottles are painted in high 'transitional'-style underglaze blue with figures in landscapes. The bases are glazed and the foot rings are gritty.
One of them shows the 'Zhulin qixian' [Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove], attended by two servants. These figures are depicted at ease, seated in groups, conversing, holding texts and leaning against books, in a bamboo grove. The end of the scene is marked by a bank of clouds following a convention established in decorating porcelain. These scholarly men, known for their brains, musical talents and capacity for alcohol, lived in the late third century AD. They were later famed for refusing to serve a corrupt regime and were lauded for their actions. The theme was especially popular on porcelains of the 1630s and 1640s and again in the 1660s to 1670s. The upper section of this vase shows two further figures, one holding a text in one hand. Tulips and auspicious emblems adorn the neck.
The other shows two scenes separated by banana trees and by the conventional bank of clouds. In the first two figures are seated in a garden and are approached by a general in armour with a sword tapped to his back. In the second same general confronts a servant in front of a barricade. Above this is a border of scrolling chrysanthemums and a band of leaf tips. The upper section is painted with two scholars in a garden at night. Around the neck are tulips and auspicious emblems.
- Production date
- 1628-1644 (circa)
Height: 32 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Harrison-Hall 2001:
The tulip design around the neck indicates that these were made for export (see BM Franks.1676). Gourd-shaped bottles occur in Dutch records from 1637. A similar bottle is in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
- Not on display
- Registration number