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Bowls with Yellow Dragon-among-Clouds Design on Blue Ground (sets, various reigns)

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 5.2-5.4 cm; mouth diameter: 10.2-10.5 cm; foot diameter: 4.6-5.0 cm

Bowl with Yellow Dragon-among-Clouds Design on Blue Ground
Date: Kangxi reign (1662–1722), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 5.2 cm; mouth diameter: 10.3 cm; foot diameter: 5 cm

Bowl with Yellow Dragon-among-Clouds Design on Blue Ground
Date: Qianlong reign (1736–1795), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 5.4 cm; mouth diameter: 10.4 cm; foot diameter: 5 cm

Bowl with Yellow Dragon-among-Clouds Design on Blue Ground
Date: Jiaqing reign (1796–1820), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 5.3 cm; mouth diameter: 10.5 cm; foot diameter: 4.9 cm

Bowl with Yellow Dragon-among-Clouds Design on Blue Ground
Date: Daoguang reign (1821–1850), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 5.2 cm; mouth diameter: 10.3 cm; foot diameter: 4.8 cm

Bowl with Yellow Dragon-among-Clouds Design on Blue Ground
Date: Xianfeng reign (1851–1861), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 5.2 cm; mouth diameter: 10.3 cm; foot diameter: 4.9 cm

Bowl with Yellow Dragon-among-Clouds Design on Blue Ground
Date: Tongzhi reign (1862–1873), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 5.2 cm; mouth diameter: 10.2 cm; foot diameter: 4.7 cm

Bowl with Yellow Dragon-among-Clouds Design on Blue Ground
Date: Guangxu reign (1875–1908), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 5.3 cm; mouth diameter: 10.3 cm; foot diameter: 4.6 cm

Bowl with Yellow Dragon-among-Clouds Design on Blue Ground
Date: Xuantong reign (1909–1911), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: height: 5.3 cm; mouth diameter: 10.4 cm; foot diameter: 4.8 cm

Each of these bowls has a flared mouth rim, deep arced walls, and a round foot. The interior bottom and exterior walls are covered in a blue ground with a yellow dragon-among-clouds design. The interior bottom features one front-facing dragon among clouds while the exterior has two dragons among clouds. Near the foot is a stylized lotus petal pattern. The exterior base is inscribed in blue with the reign in which the bowl was produced.

Documents written in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) designate bowls of these dimensions with the yellow dragon-among-clouds design on a blue ground as “reproduction Chenghua period (1465–1487) official kiln teacups with a blue ground and yellow dragons among clouds”. The Palace Museum collection has examples from eight reigns from the time of the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1662–1722) to the Xuantong Emperor (r. 1909–1911), lacking only those from the Yongzheng reign (1723–1735). However, ceramics made in the Yongzheng reign include soup bowls with a 13.5 centimeter mouth-diameter with yellow dragons-among-clouds designs on a blue ground. Comparisons of the bowls from the eight reigns show nuances in the designs. For example, the dragons of the Kangxi period have rather slender bodies while the yellow coloration is fainter than that of other periods. Beginning in the Qianlong reign (1736–1795), the dragons have thicker bodies, and the yellow has a deeper hue. Through the Tongzhi (1862–1873), Guangxu (1875–1908), and Xuantong (1909–1911) reigns, due to the excessive thickness of the yellow glaze, the scales delineated with blue material on the dragon are barely visible. Additionally, beginning in the Daoguang reign (1821–1850), a blue line was added around the round foot.

Chinese entry by Zhao Congyue
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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