The thirteenth-century imperial court, which patronized a number of kilns, commissioned high-fired Jingdezhen white porcelain accentuated by a sparkling translucent glaze with a definite bluish tinge known as shadow blue (yingqing), such as this bowl decorated with boys playing among lotus. This “100 boys” theme has been popular throughout Chinese history. Gifts to couples on the occasion of their wedding or another festive occasion were often references to the hope for many sons. The shaped of this bowl imitates more costly lobed silver or gold bowls.
Artist Chinese
  • Shallow Dish with Design of Boys Playing Among Lotus
Date ca. 1200
Medium Porcelain with "shadow blue" glaze
Dimensions Overall: 7 1/2 × 1 3/4 inches (19.1 × 4.4 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, with funds from the Friends of Asian Art and Dr. John V. and Annette Balian
Accession Number 1991.169
Department Asian Art
Not On View
May 28, 1991, sold by (Sotheby's, lot #199, sale #6185, New York, New York, USA );
1991-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. Sales cat., Sotheby's. New York, May 28, 1991, lot 199.