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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Octagonal Bowl

Photo: Paul Macapia

Octagonal Bowl

ca. 1755

A boy emerging from a large ceramic jar is the central theme of a popular Japanese Kakiemon scene copied at Meissen and Chelsea. The intermingling of East and West is visible in the Japanese Kakiemon form, motif, and palette of this European porcelain bowl, which illustrates a Chinese folktale.

The Chinese story depicts a heroic act by the young Sima Guang (1019-1086), who became a great Song dynasty scholar and statesman. He is depicted on the left, casting stones at a water jar in which a young boy has become stuck and is drowning. Once the jar has been smashed, water gushes forth, and a friend assists in the rescue. Pictorial representation of the story had already appeared in Sima Guang's lifetime.

Soft paste porcelain
3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm), height
9 in. (22.9 cm), diameter
Gift of Martha and Henry Isaacson
Provenance: Collection of Mr and Mrs Henry and Martha Isaacson, unknown purchase date until December 1969; gift from Mr and Mrs Henry and Martha Isaacson to Seattle Art Museum, Washington, 1969
Photo: Paul Macapia
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Porcelain Stories: From China to Europe", February 17, 2000-May 7, 2000 (2/17/2000 - 5/7/2000)
Published ReferencesEmerson, Julie, Jennifer Chen, & Mimi Gardner Gates, "Porcelain Stories, From China to Europe", Seattle Art Museum, 2000, pg. 176

W. B. Honey. Dresden China: An Introduction to the Study of Meissen Porcelain. New York: Tudor Pub. Co., 1937, p. 64

Savage, George. 18th Century English Porcelain. London: Spring, 1952. p. 205

18th Century English Porcelain. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum and Seattle Ceramic Society, 1956, p. 43, pl. 11, #68

MacKenna, F. Severne. Chelsea Porcelain: The Red Anchor Wares. Leigh-on-Sea, England: F. Lewis, 1951, pl. 9, #17

Vollmer, John. Japanese Art at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria: The Fred and Isabel Pollard Collection and Other Acquisitions. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum on behalf of The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1972, p. 94

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.

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