A Transitional Blue and White Porcelain Bowl, Late Ming, Chongzhen Period 1628-1644. The Shallow Form Painted with a Rabbit Gazing at the Moon in a Landscape. The Base with an Apocryphal Chenghua Mark, Ming Dynasty 1465-1487. The Surface of the base Shows Chatter Marks.
Condition: In very good condition, a very small shallow rim chip which is most glaze c.5 x 1 mm. Some shallow fritting. Slightly warped.
Size: Diameter : 17 cm (6 3/4 inches)
References:This bowl appears not to be from a shipwreck but very similar blue and white Transitional bowls from the `Hatcher Junk` of c.1643 are illustrated in Fine And Important Late Ming And Transitional Porcelain, Recently Recovered from an Asian Vessel in the South China Sea. Property of Captain Michael Hatcher. Christie`s Amsterdam 14th March 1984. Page 40, lot 203.
Apocryphal Marks :
Apocryphal marks are frequently encountered on Chinese porcelain particularly on Kangxi Blue and White Porcelain, the mark of the Ming Emperor Chenghua who reigned from 1465 to 1487 being by far the most common, other Ming marks include Jiajing (1522-1566) and less frequently Wanli (1573-1620). These marks were not added to the piece to deceive, but more as a sign of reverence to earlier potters of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Occasionally they are used on pieces copying Ming Porcelain, these objects were probably made for collectors who could not afford the Ming original. Tianqi is an early period for such an apocryphal mark.
Rabbit and the Moon / Yuetu :
There are several early cultures that associate a rabbit with the moon, this is because it is possible to interpret part of the surface of the moon as a rabbit. It is said the Chinese mythological white hare or rabbit makes the elixir of immortality on the Moon. In some Chinese images a rabbit can be seen grinding herbs and acacia twigs in a mortar and pestle to create this magical elixir. According to Taoist tradition the `moon rabbit`, Yuetu, lives on the moon with the Goddess of the Moon, Chang`e. As well as being associated with longevity the rabbit is connected with fertility as it is supposed to conceive while gazing at the moon.