Description & Technical information

The chess-playing scene painted on this conical bowl is a frequently seen motif in Chinese art. It is typically composed of two weiqi (Chinese chess) players seated opposite each other under a pine tree; often with a third person watching. An early example of this scene on porcelain is a blue-and-white jar of the Chenghua Period (1465-1487), in the collection of the National Museum of China, Beijing

Weiqi playing is favoured by literati, and considered one of the four basic intellectual abilities. The other three being playing qin, creating calligraphic works and painting. Therefore, on artwork, this scene symbolizes the strategic thinking of the ruling class.
The decoration of a floral scroll on the inner side of the rim, as well as the conical shape, indicate that the bowl is more probably used to contain liquid such as tea or soup, instead of rice. . A similarly shaped bowl from the same period, but with a scalloped edge, can also be found in the Palace Museum, Beijing.

Date:  1700
Period:  1600-1750, 18th century
Origin:  China
Medium: porcelain
Dimensions: 9 x 22.5 cm (3¹/₂ x 8⁷/₈ inches)
Provenance: Provenance: Private Collection the Netherlands
With Vanderven 1970 – ‘s
Literature: Asian Games: The Art of Contest, Asia Society, New York, 2004

Qing porcelain from the Palace Museum, part I: Qing Shunzi Kangxi Chao. Catalogue Palace Museum, Beijing, 2005
Categories: Oriental and Asian Art