A story behind every piece.
ENGLISH buyers of Chinese porcelain were particularly fond of pieces that told a story.
One such example is a blue and white bowl, originally owned by Bolton manufacturer Richard Bennett, that is the Lady Lever's designated artwork of the month for February.
Made of refined clay with a smooth glaze, the bowl is likely to have been used for serving punch.
Its decoration can be divided into three parts - inside, a medallion is painted with a carp rising from the waves. The two borders are decorated with prunus Prunus
a genus of trees in the family Rosaceae. The seeds of these trees contain cyanogenetic glycosides which are potentially poisonous. The fruit pulp appears to quite safe. The glycosides are amygdalin, prunasin, prulaurasin. branches and phoenix pattern.
However, it is the image painted on the outside of the bowl that will have particularly captured Lord Leverhulme's interest.
Scenes from Xi Xiang Ji, by 13th-century playwright Wang Shifu Wang Shifu (Chinese: 王实甫; Pinyin: Wáng Shífǔ, fl. 14th century CE) was a successful Chinese dramatic playwright of the Yuan Dynasty. , referred to in English as The Romance of the Western Chamber, is the most-widely used story on 17th-century Chinese porcelain.
Described as "a rollicking tale about love and lust", the play tells the story of the young scholar Zhang Sheng sheng
(Chinese; “sage” or “saint”)
In Chinese belief, a mortal who attains extraordinary or supernatural powers by self-cultivation and serves as a model for others. Confucius used the term to refer to exemplary rulers of the past. , who travels to the capital city in order to take the highest Imperial examination. When he stays in a monastery, he meets Cui Yingying, daughter of the Prime Minister, and falls in love with her at first sight.
They begin to exchange poems, but have to keep their communication secret as Yingying is staying there with her widowed mother.
Later captured by bandits, Yingying's desperate mother pledges to marry her daughter off to any man who can rescue them. Though Zhang eventually succeeds in the task, Yingying's mother subsequently reneges on her promise, citing that there is no way she will allow her daughter to wed an impoverished scholar.
As a result, the bond between Zhang and Cui only strengthens, and with a little assistance from Cui's maid, Hong Niang, the couple are eventually able to shatter the traditional societal barriers that bind them.
DR YUPIN CHUNG is giving a talk on the decorative elements of the Lady Lever's collection of Chinese blue Chinese Blue is a type of artificial pigment with colors blue or purple found in China between 500 B.C. and 220 A.D.. It was used in the decoration of the Xi'an Terracotta Army. and white porcelain on February 14 and 21, 1-1.30pm.