Dating: 18th century (Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period)
Dimensions (cm): 41,2 x Ø 60,9
Inv. no.: PD0500
A large round fishbowl with a short and narrow spout; flat brim with a straight edge, sitting on a foot inclined outwards. The handles are in the shape of a head of a Buddhist lion without its corresponding rings.
The decoration of the fishbowl is organised into a band arrangement with the decorative features separated from each other by blue lines below the glaze. On the body, between the handles, one may see two identical scenes of a garden with two big branches of peonies in full blossom, framed by cliffs and garden architecture.
On the inside, a carp, a crab and a crayfish are painted.
To the original decoration in Imari porcelain were added, in Europe, birds and leaves in a sepia tone, with shadings in gold and some of the iron-red foliage along with blue enamel that is around the big peonies.
The typology of these decorative pieces is characterized not only by their large dimensions, but also for the carefully selected decoration, which was mainly appreciated in Europe in general and, particularly, in Portugal, where there are several known pairs. These fishbowls were certainly part of the decoration of European private living areas, but their practical use is unknown. In China, they were used for the decoration of bedchambers.
Maria Antónia Pinto Matos