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Republic Period Porcelain Brush pot with an unusual figure and Myth

October 19, 2021

Where to start with my latest find which i spotted from afar sitting amongst some very ordinary pottery, guess thats why i was drawn to it straight away. A real delight as i have now found a piece with a figure and a fish.I would like to start with the figure painted in an elaborate gown with golden thread with a golden symbol in each hand and finally with a golden crown. This made me think of a highly esteemed person, emporor, king and finally a God.

Two things come to mind with the first being a book by Tommy Eklöf detailing over 3500 faces from the earliest period to modern day. Here i invite you to travel with me through the times to the end of the Myths and excitement. This book guides one through various ways to help establish the origin and date of the piece, given -+20 years. Tommy is a member of the Gotheborg Chinese site… and has over the years garnered such magic detail of all the postings on that site. This is a must have book for all to get a good indepth knowledge of all things faces…etc. Link at the end of posting to this must have book.

Having this wonderful piece of porcelain in my hand i could not wait to get home to establish not only the date but the story depicted on the brushpot. Leads, many took me to places i have never heard of, but what a travel through time and all the stories, myths, that carried me through this amazing time travel. Starting with the face of the person, i was able to establish a period of 1890/1920

-+ 20 years. All three aspects stated in the book confirms just that. I then searched through many stories and then found a link to a book on Chinese Gods and mythology.

The god that was found with a great story is that of Qu Yuan….link to full story :

Link to Chinese Gods :

Scrolling down and to the middle left one can see the God symbols that appear on the brush pot.

To complete this picture of the brushpot…here is a link to the dragon fish ( in fact a huge cat fish) on which Qu Yuan rides the waves. :

There is a lot of reading but what a tale and delight to discover new insights to Chinese mythology.

By no means is this the only way of establishing the date but also the feel of the porcelain and the fine painting of the period. A good read on Republic porcelain will give one a good insight as to all the smaller studios that popped up after the revolution. There are brushpots and brushpots but this one gives me a thrill as it has a story spanning myths and dates throughout Chinese history. It is still very popular as someone in the early 20thc painted it on a brushpot and has kept the myth alive and being re-told. This is my deduction of this picture story and should anyone else have a different view i would be delighted in hearing from you. :

Link BUY this  Tommy Eklöf Book on Chinese Faces (Ref. Norman) :