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Liu Yang. Flower and Bird Motifs in the Decoration of Changsha Bowls

Changsha bowls recovered from the Belitung shipwreck, some 55,000 pieces, are all decorated in a wide range of freely painted designs in colourful underglaze, including cloud/vapour, flowers, birds, landscape, Buddhist motifs, poems and phrases, as well as foreign figures. The variety of motifs and spontaneous brushworks secured its significant position in the history of Chinese decorative art. The ties of many motifs with the contemporary beliefs and aesthetics make them even more attractive. This paper
thus focuses on the colourful decoration of Changsha bowls, with an equal attention to the significant overtones the designs imbue. It will illuminate the invaluable new data offered by the decorative motifs on the ceramics that are relevant to art and literary history, religious beliefs and customs of the times.

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July/August 2019
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