Chinese - Bowl, 1723-1735


Bowl with Attributes of the Eight Taoist Immortals, 1723-1735

"Famille rose" style enamels on white glazed porcelain , 21 x 22 cm (8 1/4 x 8 11/16 in.)


The Eight Immortals of Taoism are beings that were born human and later transformed into divine entities that are immortal and possess supernatural powers. Each Immortal has different individual symbols that are representative of them. The Eight Immortals play an important spiritual and cultural role in China. The bowl depicts the iconography of each of the Immortals, and is dated to the Yongzheng Emperor who ruled from 1722 to 1735 as the fifth emperor of the Qing Dynasty. The provenance of the bowl can't be definitively determined, but it is known to have entered Isabella Stewart Gardner’s collection by the 1890’s. It is likely one of the fourteen Chinese pieces that Isabella notes in her List of Things for Museum that was written between March 25, 1897 and December 26, 1898. Isabella documented many of the objects in her collection and her List of Things for the Museum is made up of handwritten paper acquisition records that were bound together with gilded leather.