Chinese massive famille verte bowl, Kangxi (1662-1722), with slightly flared rim, the exterior decorated with two bands of ogee-shaped panels containing alternating scenes of flowers and various mythical beasts in gardens with overhanging rockwork, pine and swirling clouds; the eight panels of the top band containing cherry blossom, a mythical beast with spots and tasselled tail, chrysanthemum blooms with flying insects, a dog of Fo with beribboned ball, peonies with butterfly, a mythical beast chasing a black bird, lotus with grasses and a tiger; the eight panels of the lower band containing a mythical beast with paws, beard and tasselled tail, irises with flying insects, a shaggy dog, curly flowers with butterfly, a cantering beast with wings and hooves, peonies, a pair of deer and daisy or aster with butterflies; the footrim with a ruyi-head band in iron-red, yellow and green, the rim with six cartouches containing flowers and flying insects against a floral cellular ground; the interior rim with six vignettes containing dianthus, rose, peonies, asters, anemone and curly flowers against various swirling and cell floral grounds, the interior well with a central roundel containing a pair of cantering qilin in a rocky garden amongst plantain, flowers and swirling clouds; the base with a square mark within a double circle.
Diameter: 33.5cm. (13 1/4in.), height: 16.5cm. (6 1/2in.)
A very small faint hairline (approx. 2.5cm. long) to the rim and a few tiny stress lines on the rim but no chips; some rubbing to the interior decoration (see images).
A bowl of very similar design can be found in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Salting Bequest C.1240-1910).
Fantastical beasts play a large role in Chinese mythology as iconic symbols, both religious and secular. For example, the qilin is a fire-breathing animal with hooves, the head of a dragon and the tail of a Buddhist lion connected with Confucian legend as the bringer of healthy sons. Meanwhile, the dog is one of the animals of the zodiac and symbolises future prosperity.