Chinese porcelain underglaze blue and white fishbowl painted in a continuous cloud-covered scene, with sixteen boys in groups of four, at various playful pursuits such as; flying kites, playing weiqi, gathering lotus flowers and playing with puppets, in a fenced garden, divided by banana plant, pine and fruiting and flowering trees, most issuing from taihu rocks.

76.5 cm diameter.

Six-character mark of Jiajing on the slightly relief rim, and of the period 1522-1566.


Provenance & Additional Information

• Included by S. Marchant & Son in their exhibition of Two Hundred Years of Chinese Porcelain, 1998, no. 6, pp. 16-17.

• The hundred boy subject is typical of the period and may well symbolise the wish of the Emperor for male heirs. Whilst it is very unusual on fishbowls, it is found not infrequently on jars, such as that illustrated by Chu in Chinese Porcelain, The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Vol. I, pl. 35.

• The bold positioning of the three taihu rocks and the pine tree at equal intervals gives the impression of an almost compartmented scene, foreshadowing the use of rockwork and trees to interrupt both ends of scenes on Transitional pieces. Their size and boldness contrasts with the main design and appears to herald the earliest manifestation of this technique.

Taihu rocks, conceived with cavities, are inspired by wood block prints of the time.


Available on request.