Lot #030

Longquan Celadon Twin Fish Dish

Southern Song-Yuan Dynasty (late 13th - early 14th Century) Porcelain
C:13” (33 cm)
Starting Bid : Php 50,000
HP + BP : Php 64,240
Provenance Private Collection, Manila
There is much context, explicit and implicit, in the aesthetic of Chinese greenware and other porcelain. With philosophical and historical references dating as far back as 4th Century B.C., there are multiple innuendos implied into these pieces — most of which, of fable-like origins.
At a glance, the decorative scheme of this celadon bowl can easily be seen as fish swimming in a body of water. Although, in Chinese culture, there is an observable fondness of wordplay and puns — words translated visually, with homonymous words serving as implied context.
In Mandarin, ‘fish’ translates to ‘yú’ — homonymous to ‘extra’ or ‘surplus’ which, by extension, refers to ‘abundance’. Such play on linguistics suggests that to have ‘yú’ (fish) is to have ‘yú’ (surplus); a witty double entendre on good fortune to come.
Source: -Spence, Jonathan D. (1999), The Search For Modern China (2nd ed.), New York: W. W. Norton -Brook, Timothy (1998), The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China, Berkeley: University of California Press