This bowl is an example of Peranakan Chinese porcelain or Nyonya ware made from overglaze polychrome enamelled porcelain with gilt edged rim. It carries the reign mark “Tongzhi nian zhi” which suggests that it could have been manufactured during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi from 1862 to 1874. The main decorative motifs include a phoenix. Its neck plumage is painted in shades of red, green and blue and its scaly green body is decorated with dotted details. It has a long ochre tail accompanied with bold strokes of red and green. The phoenix is an auspicious symbol representing beauty, grace, high virtue, the Bride and the Empress. There are also sprays of red and white peony blossoms. Peonies symbolise spring, love, beauty and good fortune. There is also a border pattern decorated with geometric patterns of green and pink. In a Peranakan household, such a bowl could have been used to serve main dishes cooked with gravy or creamy glutinous rice or juice based desserts.

Late 19th-early 20th century
Kuala Lumpur, British Malaya
Gross measurement: H: 9.2 x Dia: 20.8 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Peranakan Museum
Credit Line
Gift of Sunny Chan Hean Kee

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