Bowl with imaginary composite flowers


Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Daoguang mark and period (1821–50)

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 219

The blossoms and leaves on this bowl illustrate an imaginary flower that combines elements of the peony, lotus, chrysanthemum, pomegranate, and other plants. Intended to represent majesty and beauty, this decorative flower (often known as a baoxianghua) first appeared in the sixth or seventh century. Flowers are not found as motifs in Chinese art prior to this period, and it is possible they were introduced with Buddhist imagery.

Bowl with imaginary composite flowers, Porcelain painted with overglaze enamels (Jingdezhen ware), China

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