Finely painted to the exterior with ladies involved in scholarly pursuits in a garden setting including: playing the qin; playing weiqi; and studying a scroll, all above a band of raised petals decorated with flowerheads, the interior with a medallion depicting boys at play, the glazed base with the six-character mark of Kangxi.
From the collection of the late Rev. Margaret Johnston (d. 2018)
Footnote: The scenes on the bowl represent the 'Four Arts of the Scholar', arts in which the scholar was to have excelled by the time he passed his civil service examination. These arts are the qin, chess (weiqi), painting and calligraphy. This design of 'the arts' painted on porcelain was most commonly represented by 'the seven sages of the bamboo grove' a group of eccentric scholars who attempted to remove themselves from politics and concentrate on music, poetry and philosophical discussion. They became symbols of the struggle by scholars against political corruption. They were also known for their prodigious consumption of wine. The depiction of ladies engaged in the scholarly pursuits is rather an unusual subject.