Wealthy Virginians were known to celebrate special occasions with punch, a festive drink made from a mixture of spirits, lemon or lime juice, sugar, nutmeg, and other spices. Its presentation was enhanced by the often eye-catching punch bowls from which it was served. This punch bowl was likely brought to Mount Vernon by Martha Washington from her first marriage. With its delicate design, exquisitely executed in vibrant over glaze enamels of the famille rose palette, it is the oldest and perhaps the finest piece of Chinese export porcelain known to have been owned by the Washingtons.


Circular porcelain bowl decorated with FAMILLE ROSE overglaze enamels on a high foot rim. The center of the well is decorated with peonies and chrysanthemums arranged in a Chinese porcelain lantern (or vase) with handle. The inner rim frieze of alternating pink and blue bands of trellis ground patterns with scroll-frame reserves echoes the larger outer rim frieze of flowers, Chinese "cloud" motifs and a ground pattern of interlocking crosses and curls within a large scroll-frame. Beneath the outer rim frieze is a complex pattern of humming birds, blue birds, and peacocks amidst chrysanthemums and peonies.


c. 1735-1757



Porcelain (hard-paste), enamel, gilt


Overall: 6 3/8 in. x 15 5/8 in. x 15 5/8 in. (16.21 cm x 39.7 cm x 39.69 cm)
Other (base diameter): 19.69 cm x 19.69 cm (7 3/4 in. x 7 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1956

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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