Punch bowl

Chinese export porcelain to the European market, decorated with European themes and aesthetics

Punch bowl Punch bowl - view BMuseu do Oriente


China, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period (1736-1795), c. 1770-75

Chinese porcelain decorated with famille rose enamels and gold. Diameter: 40 cm

Punchbowl on a high ring foot in white porcelain deco­rated with famille rose enamels. 

The exterior depicts two large reserves showing the Hongs – commercial outposts – of Canton on the banks of the Pearl River. 

The decoration used is typical of export porcelain throughout the 18th century. 

These pieces were ordered mainly by royal families, religious orders and noble families, from the late 17th century until the beginning of the 20th century.

The first reserve shows the commercial outposts of Den­mark and France with their respective flags. The French flag is white, as was the tradition before the establish­ment of the Republic in 1789. 

Punch bowl Punch bowl (Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795), c. 1770-75) by unknown authorMuseu do Oriente

The second reserve depicts the warehouses and the flags of Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

The presence of the flags in this piece is important, as it indicates who the main political and commercial actors were at the time in this region.    

Punch bowl Punch bowl - view BMuseu do Oriente

The fact that the Imperial Austrian flag is not in this group, as happens in some identical punchbowls, means that this piece pre­cedes the installation of the Austrians in Canton in 1779. 

Punch bowl Punch bowl - view AMuseu do Oriente

From 1780 on, the representation of the foreign commercial outposts changed to a continuous scene covering the whole piece. This latter version seems to have been manufactured in larger numbers by the Chinese artists when compared to this piece.

Punch bowl Punch bowl, unknown author, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795), c. 1770-75, From the collection of: Museu do Oriente
Punch bowl Punch bowl - view B, From the collection of: Museu do Oriente
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  Did you know that thanks to porcelain, silk and tea, great fortunes were built overnight? Hence the Portuguese expression “negócios da China”, or very profitable trade.

Credits: Story

© Fundação Oriente - Museu do Oriente

ALVES, Filomena Cunha e ALVES, Paulo Cunha, “Poncheira - As Feitorias de Cantão”, In, Do Oriente ao Ocidente – A Aventura da Porcelana Chinesa de Exportação com Decoração Ocidental (1695-1815), pp. 54-55

Photography: Martin Ollman, Camberra

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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