Yuan Blue Green Stoneware Bowl with Pair of Fish
Item No. 1159
Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368), N/A, China
1.25" x 0" x 0"
( 3.175 x 0 x 0 cm)
(H x W x D)
This Yuan Dynasty has a gorgeous blue-green crackle glaze, with the brownish crackles appearing like thin veins in the stoneware. This crackle is a purposeful choice for the potter, which simply involves cooling the kiln too fast so that the stoneware cools too soon and literally cracks the silica in the glaze. By the Yuan Dynasty, Chinese potters had already been experimenting with glaze crackles for centuries, so they were acutely aware of how to produce such "ceramic accidents."
This particular bowl also has an unglazed double fish design in the well of the bowl made from the original, unglazed clay paste and fired to a somewhat brown color. As the Chinese word for fish, Yu, phonetically corresponds to another Chinese word for abundance, the two words become homonyms, which the Chinese are very, very fond of. Consequently, it is very common to see objects with double fish designs in many Chinese houses. Frequently, objects with double fish designs are given to newlyweds as a wish for abundance--i.e., a wish for fertility and many offspring. After all, fish of all kinds are abundant in the sea, are a constant form of nourishment, and, early on, were an unlimited source of food for an unlimited period of time. Moreover, it seemed that fish had no problems with reproducing, traveled in schools (groups), so they became fertility symbols and symbols of unity and marriage. Moreover, they are constantly giving birth to new generations, and, therefore, they were seen as a symbol of life renewal, preservation and regeneration. So, the double design symbolizes marriage,unity,abundance,fertility and repreduction and regeneration--i.e., a way to assure abundance in all its forms for all members of the family.