Chinese Tibetan Bowl, ca. 1765

Value (2004) | $40,000 Insurance

GUEST:
This bowl was a gift to my great-grandmother when my great-grandfather was the secretary to the ambassador to China. And they were there during the Boxer Rebellion.

APPRAISER:
So that's around... In 1900.

GUEST:
Yes. And the siege lasted for eight weeks, and when the siege was over, my great-grandmother received gifts from the Chinese citizens. They had been so grateful for the kindness that was shown to them.

APPRAISER:
So you know a little bit about this, and you had an appraisal done a number of years ago?

GUEST:
30 years ago.

APPRAISER:
And it was valued for...?

GUEST:
About $1,500 to $2,000.

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, we're going to look at this today, and I'm going to see if I can add some information. The first thing is the basic shape. It's a nice, large size. You don't usually get bowls of this size. The other is the design itself is called the "eight Buddhist emblems," and that's pronounced the "ba jixiang." Buddhist emblems are these. Right up here at the top, you see, that's one.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
There's another one-- two. It goes all the way around-- three. And there's a wheel. And those are interspersed among stylized cloud scrolls at the very top and a lotus vine with lotus flowers. Now, this is all based on a Ming design from the Ming Dynasty. And what's really interesting about these is, if you look at the lotus flower, you see that the dark colors of the blue are achieved by little tiny pinpricks, dots of color, to give it an intensity of blue. Well, that's to simulate what you would find during the Ming Dynasty called the "heaped and piled" technique, where you'd have a naturally occurring, very rich, intense purplish kind of blue that occurred because of the impurities in the cobalt. So in the 18th century, which is when this was made, they tried to copy that, and they did not have the impurities in their cobalt, so they did it by putting these little dots close together.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
That's a technique you only find in the 18th century, so that's a good sign. Now, when we turn this upside down... you'll see that there's a mark here... and this is a mark for the Ch'ien-lung Period, which is 1736 to 1795.

This is called a seal mark. It's a rectangular mark, as opposed to a character mark. So this is a... obviously, it's a nice bowl, but what really is interesting is when you flip it over and you look at the inside: that's a design that is very much Tibetan in influence. So this was probably made as a gift for a Tibetan temple.

GUEST:
I'm Tibetan myself. Oh, my.

APPRAISER:
And it was probably made in China and given by the Ch'ien-lung emperor or one of his... or someone in his court to go to Tibet. Now, you know you had had this appraised in 1974?

GUEST:
Four, mm-hmm. For $1,500 to $2,000 dollars.

APPRAISER:
And this is something that you always want to keep, isn't it?

GUEST:
Absolutely, yes, I do.

APPRAISER:
Okay, so you need to know what it's worth for insurance purposes, probably.

GUEST:
Yes, yes.

APPRAISER:
I would say that today, this should be insured for about $40,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my. That's something. That's wonderful.

APPRAISER:
So you've got a prize.

GUEST:
That's wonderful.

APPRAISER:
And that history and the provenance you've got is truly extraordinary.

GUEST:
I treasure it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lark Mason Associates
New York, New York
Appraised value (2004)
$40,000 Insurance
Event
Omaha, NE (July 10, 2004)
Period
18th Century
Form
Bowl
Material
Porcelain

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