A Pair of Chinese bowls in Famille verte enamels enhanced with gilding, finely decorated, in cartouches on a green background with black dots and butterflies, with scenes representing the beautiful Cui Yingyin and her suitor, the scholar Zhang, after the Pavilion of the West Novel.
These love scenes are treated alternately with representations of erotic connotations of birds in pairs. The interior features an additional bird on a rockery near a flowering branch and lattice edging punctuated with crane medallions. Each bowl has an appreciative lingzhi mushroom mark on the back on the base in a double circle in cobalt blue underglaze. Second half of the Kangxi period (1662-1722) around 1700/1710.
This model of a fresh and charming Famille verte palette, mixing painting of Nature and painting of manners, is inspired by a famous novel / theatrical Chinese love drama formerly known as "Novel of the West Chamber”, and written by Wang Shifu around 1300. It was an inexhaustible source of inspiration for 18th century Chinese potters who needed canonical motifs with female and male figures in Palaces to adorn vases, dishes and bowls products for decorative purposes either for the domestic market or for the export market.
The present model of bowls with reserves on a green background with black dotted lines and butterflies and cranes in interior medallions was part of the polychrome export ceramics among the most qualitative that could then be found during the reign of Kangxi and it is moreover very rare that an original pair such as this one has reached us without having been disassembled. This preferential treatment is perhaps, who knows, a charm of love stemming from the famous novel by Wang Shifu. In fact, it must have seemed as cruel to the successive owners of these bowls that they are separated as to separate the couple of Zhang and Cui Yingyin, the Chinese version of our "Romeo and Juliet".