Blue and white bowl with kylin design
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- Ming Dynasty, Wanli period, 1579 - 1628
- Fu Gui Jia Qi 富貴隹器 mark in underglaze blue
- 16.5 cm
- 35.5 cm
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The outside of this large bowl is painted with six roundels with a motif of a kylin in a landscape between clouds. The interior is decorated with a large medallion with a kylin in a landscape. The inner rim is decorated with eight phoenixes, the outer rim is decorated with a triangular pattern. On the bottom is the Fu Gui Jia Qi mark, that stands for ‘fine vessel for the rich and honourable’.
The kylin (qilin or 麒麟) is a mythical Chinese creature, with dragon-like features; a scaly body with a dragon head, hooves and horns. The kylin is a good omen, that appears with the birth of a sage or when an illustrious emperor sits on the throne. It brings rui, longevity, wise administration and illustrious offspring. The male creature is called Qi and the female Lin, Qilin is a name for the whole species. The legendary image of the Kylin made appearances in a variety of works of history and fiction, taking a different appearance in different regio’s and dynasty. In the Ming dynasty the Qilin became associated with the image of the giraffe, an animal imported from East Africa (modern-day Somalia), and proclaimed a magical creature by Emperor Zheng He. The giraffes were referred to as 'qilins', with giraffe meaning geri in Somali.