- Museum number
Porcelain bowl with rounded sides and everted lip. The bowl has a white body and transparent glaze. There is an apricot tree in blossom, a willow, and a pair of swallows '(xing liu chun yen)' in 'famille rose' palette enamel on one side of the bowl, and a poetical inscription in black enamel on the other.
- Production date
Diameter: 113 millimetres
Height: 59 millimetres
- Curator's comments
Published PDF date : Qing Qianlong 1736-95
Room 95 label text:
Falangcai bowl with swallows and a poem
A pair of swallows is shown flying beside a willow and blossoming apricot tree. The word for swallow 燕 yan sounds the same as the word 宴 yan meaning banquet. Hence this design stands for 杏林春宴 (xing lin chun yan ‘Spring Banquet in the Apricot Grove‘). 'May you enjoy the Spring banquet in the Apricot Grove' is another way of wishing that you may pass the imperial Confucian examinations successfully as the first celebration party for successful candidates was held in an apricot grove. On the other side, in black enamel is an inscription 玉剪穿花過, 霓裳帶月歸 (yu jian chuan hua guo, ni shang dai yue fu ‘Wings slice through the flowers like jade scissors, Rainbow Skirts were brought back from the moon’). Jade scissors (玉剪) refer to the swallows’ tails. The Tang Emperor Xuanzong visited the moon and witnessed a musical performance. Memorizing the tunes, upon his return to earth, he had his music bureau create a set of melodies called 《霓裳羽衣曲》 (Songs for Rainbow Skirts and Feather Robes). The source of this couplet appears to be a poem by Shen Shixing 申時行 (1535–1614) titled應制題杏梨白燕扇 (Yingzhi ti xingli baiyan shan 'written by imperial command on a fan painting of apricots and white swallows'). THis poem is included in the Peiwenzhai collection, juan 438. The original poem, where this couplet appears as lines 5-6, is comprised of eight lines with seven characters per line. Here the artist has omitted the first two characters of each line to create a couplet of five- character lines. The seals read 佳麗(jiali ‘beautiful’), 先春(xianchun ‘early spring’) and 旭映 (xu ying ‘dawn glow’). There is a four-character Qianlong mark in a double square in blue enamel on the base.
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, blue enamel Qianlong mark and period, AD1736–95
- On display (G95/dc63)
- Acquisition notes
- Lady David 1973 records: From the Elphinstone Collection.
Margaret Medley 1975 records: From the Elphinstone Collection.
PDF card Elphinstone Collection.
Dominic Jellinek. Bluett & Sons Archive. May 30th 1929. The Liddell Collection of Old Chinese Porcelain. No.140: £150.
One of a pair of bowls, the other sold to Charles Russell.
- Registration number