Double-gourd-shaped Vase Decorated with Bats

By Ceramic Design Ideas

Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)

The double-gourd-shaped vase has a straight mouth, short neck, and a smaller upper bulb compared with the lower one which gracefully terminates in a narrow, slightly upturned foot. The interior wall is applied with turquoise glaze and the exterior with red cloud-like bat designs on the blue-green-glazed ground. At the bottom inside the foot ring, grouped in three lines within a single-line crimson frame, are six crimson characters in seal script reading “Made in the Qianlong period of the Great Qing” (Daqing Qianlong nian zhi).
  Vessels in gourd shapes are typical among traditional Chinese porcelain productions. Based on some of its characteristics such as its intertwining tendrils and profuse seeds (in Chinese, the character for “seed” [zi] is homophonic with the character for “offspring”), the gourd is often connected with auspicious meanings such as abundance and fertility. The gourd was also considered a holy object for Daoist practice. Over the centuries, it was believed that people with miraculous powers were able to use gourd as a vehicle to enter the land of the immortals. At the same time, it is also used as containers for Daoist elixirs of immortality. The pattern decorating the vase is also intended as a rebus in which great fortune and blessing (“hongfu” in Chinese) are represented by image of the red bats (also pronounced “hongfu”).
  Both the elegant, round shape and the bat pattern help us to glimpse how “fortune” was understood and celebrated during the Qianlong reign.

Double-gourd-shaped Vase Decorated with Bats



handbuilt ceramic design art

By Ceramic Design

As a freelance ceramic design artist I am involved in the design and making of one off individual, limited edition ceramic pieces. These are made using a combination of handbuilding and slip-casting techniques. The motivation behind my work is to create pieces that are both unusual and striking in terms of shape, decoration and scale. The vessel is the basis upon which to experiment with sculptural ideas, where the ‘pot’ is cut into or added to and works visually from many different angles.

The featured black and white ‘MONO’ range (pic below) derives it’s inspiration from 1960′s op artists such as Bridget Riley and Victor Vassarley. I was interested to see how similar designs would translate to a three dimensional surface and the resulting optical effect. The use of black and white exclusively aims to draw attention to the form while highlighting positive and negative shapes, spaces and patterns. Each vessel is glazed, hand decorated and range between 1 – 3 feet in height.