Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Qianlong Porcelain Bulb Pot

These days I was looking after my old bulb pots to place into them the sprouted bulbs started to grow in September. I have few Chinese bulb pots and  for first time since I have had them, I was looking to translate their marks.

Qianlong bulb pot (bonsai pot) made of porcelain
Qianlong bulb (bonsai) pot made of porcelain

My surprise was to discover that one of my favorite pots is a  Qianlong porcelain bulb pot from China, perhaps made somewhere at the beginning of the 20th century.

Qianlong bulb pot mark in kaishu normal script style
Qianlong bulb pot mark in kaishu normal script style

On its bottom is marked with a red "Qianlong nian zhi" mark in Kaishu / normal script style - a present-day regular script (not in zhuanshu / archaic seall script - which is drawing).  This mark should be translated as "Made (or make?) for Qian Long Emperor".

Qian Long Emperor (25 September 1711 – 7 February 1799) was the fifth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty who rule over China for 60 years (1735-1796). The Qian Long Emperor was a major patron of the arts and was a passionate poet and essayist. Pottery, ceramics and particularly applied arts flourished during his reign. During his reign was realized the Siku Quanshu, a catalogue of all important works on Chinese culture. In his collected writings are listed over 40,000 poems and 1,300 prose texts, making him one of the most prolific writers of all time, his name being linked physically and intellectually with ancient artistic tradition. He regularly added poetic inscriptions to the paintings or ceramic objects of the imperial collection, following the example of the emperors of the Song dynasty and the literati painters of the Ming.

Portrait of Qian Long Emperor - courtesy of wikipedia

My bulb pot looks almost new, with no cracks or chips. It is not a fake, it was made with quality and style in the 20th century as one from the Qianlong period. Its dimensions are: width 24 cm, depth 1.5 cm and height 7,5 cm. It is a rectangular porcelain bulb dish painted with traditional Chinese landscape imagery showing on two sides tranquil country lake scenes.

Qianlong bulb pot - Chinese traditional landscape imagery
Qianlong bulb pot - Chinese traditional landscape imagery

Qianlong bulb pot - traditional Chinese country lake scene
Qianlong bulb pot - traditional Chinese country lake scene

These pots, with no drain holes, usually were used as decorative dishes for forcing bulbs to bloom indoor. Some people used them as a bonsai pot, too. 

On the other two sides  are inscribed two Chinese poems between other red marks.  I wasn't so lucky to find them on the internet, so I did not know how to translate them (yet).

 Poem written on one side of Qianlong bulb pot
Poem  written on one side of  Qianlong bulb pot 

Poem written on porcelain Qianlong bulb pot
Poem written on porcelain Qianlong bulb pot

I'm sure this year bulbs will not grow in this Chinese Qianlong bulb pot because I still research about it - I am wandering when was made it and what's the meaning of poems written on its sides.


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