Chinese Enamel Fish Bowl, ca. 1850
My mother's father worked in New York, and he bought it there and brought it back about... this is the turn of the century. And she had it in her place for about 50 years, I guess. Then I finally got it in my place, when my mother passed away, and we just love it. We use it as a decorative piece in the house.
And do you know the country of origin or age?
I was just told by her. She said Chinese. I was told this was a fish bowl.
It is a fish bowl, and it was likely made as a pair in China about 1840 to 1860. Now, it's likely this would have been produced out of Canton, a region in China, and they predominantly made export ware-- items that could easily be put on a ship, as they were a port city, and sent abroad. And these were produced as fish bowls, but also as decorative objects, and these were made both for the booming middle class or merchant class in China at the time, and for export. This is the very, very finest example of export ware, mass-produced ware for export out of China during the 19th century. The detail of enamel on porcelain is very, very high. The gilt work to the cartouche is very, very fine. As we see here, there's good detailed work to the hair. The red lips and nose are well outlined. They're just very delicately and very finely executed. As we get into rose medallion ware and other export ware done during the 19th century, it gets very sloppy, we get simple outlines of faces, the in-coloring is insufficient or nonexistent, so this is very, very nicely enameled. The cartouches, the figural cartouches, are against a ground of foliate bands, and as we turn, we see these wonderful molded mythical beast simulated ring handles.
And as we look at those, we start to see the form, and it almost takes the form of a bronze censer. There's an interpretation of archaic or earlier bronze forms in the fish bowl form. The value at auction for a single fish bowl mid-19th century of this quality would be around $6,000 to $9,000. $6,000 to $9,000, okay. For insurance purposes, probably around $15,000.
Mmm, all right. That's nice.
A wonderful object.
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