Chinese Ming dynasty rounded blue and white porcelain bowl painted with the eight immortals with a turned foot rim.
Made during the 16th century probably at the end of the Emperor Jia Jing’s reign or early Longqing’s reign at Jingdezhen. Painted to the outside with the eight immortals in various poses for which they are recognized and a single deity to the well inside the bowl.
A turned foot rim rather than a luted one means that it is heavy in the base as the bowl was ‘carved’ to produce the base before firing.
The eight Daoist immortals are Cao Guo Jiu, Han Xiang zi, He Xian Gu, Li Tieguai, Lu Dong bin, Nan Cai he, Zhang Guolao and Zhong Li quan
Cao Guo Jin is ‘the patron Saint’ of theatre and is usually shown in his official robes and court headdress and often represented by caastanets.
Han Xiang zi is an immortal seen as the wanderer and musician he is shown playing a flute
He Xian Gu is a female immortal and is the supporter of the distressed and the oppressed. As she was nourished by drinking the dew and drinking the moonbeams. As she was seen as pure and brilliant she is shown as holding a lotus and depicted as standing on a leaf and holding a fly whisk and even sometimes mounted on a deer of longevity.
Li Tieguai is sometimes referred to as ‘Iron Crutch’ or the magician and is the god of passion and mercy for the poor and sick. he is often shown as having a crutch and carrying his medical bag
Lu Dong bin is seen as the second most important immortal and was the ‘patron saint’ of barbers, ink makers, scholars and pharmacists. He was known also as the slayer of all evil and is shown also carrying a flywhisk but also a sword which had magical powers
Nan Cai he is thought to be the ‘patron saint’ of florists and gardeners and represents innocence and happiness and is shown as carrying a flower basket, a flute or cymbals.
Zhang Guolao he was believed to hold the secrets of immortalityand was originally a bat before transforming into a human form. When painted he is usually shown as an old gentleman in long robes carrying a bamboo drum.
Zhong Li quan was the chief of the eight immortals he was an alchemist who also found the elixir of life and he symbolizes longevity. He is often shown with a bare belly walking on water carrying a peach and a fan
A fascinating bowl culturally and ceramically