The small tea bowl is decorated only on the exterior in iron red enamel. The main decorative motif is a poem composed by Emperor Renzong of the Jiaqing reign. Written in 'kaishu' or regular script, it is situated in between two borders at the mouth and the lower part of the body, that are filled with 'ruyi' patterns. The poem emphasises the enduring pleasure involved in tea-drinking and in men communing with nature. It is followed by the two seal characters 'jia' and 'qing'.
The paste exposed at the foot is white and smooth, and the glaze has a slight 'orange skin' surface. The mark with six seal characters is written in iron red enamel with great care and precision on the base, and reads, "Made in the Jiaqing period of the Great Qing dynasty".
Except for some later copies, porcelains with the emperor's poems are always of the highest quality. They generally made for use in the inner palace. This tea bowl is an excellent specimen of this type of work. What makes it special is the fact it has no interior decoration. It is therefore a very unusual and rare piece.
Asian Art Deptartment, AGNSW 19 June 2001
porcelain with 'rouge de fer' (iron red) enamel decoration
5.6 x 10.9 cm
Gift from the J H Myrtle Collection 2001
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
Beyond Words: Calligraphic Traditions of Asia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Aug 2016–30 Apr 2017