This Chinese porcelain bowl is characteristic of the luxury wares exported to the British colonies in the mid-eighteenth century. Its elaborate decoration, depicting riverside scenes of Chinese merchants distributing goods, directly communicated its exotic origins. Its history as a christening bowl in the Dandridge family suggests it was originally used at "Chestnut Grove," in New Kent County, Virginia, the childhood home of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington.


Circular porcelain bowl decorated with "famille rose" enamels on a high foot rim; center of the well is decorated with a central pink flower and foliage; an overglaze red and black enamel border in the "fishroe" pattern runs around the top of the interior of the bowl; on the exterior, two large reserves are decorated in overglaze polychrome enamels depicting scenes of Chinese men or merchants and several large packages and barrels in front of turreted buildings alongside a river with an extensive landscape in the background; between the large reserves are two panels, each of which is filled with a diaper pattern in red overglaze enamel surrounding a quatrefoil reserve decorated with a floral spray in overglaze polychrome enamels and three smaller, circular reserves filled with floral designs in red overglaze enamel; the edge of the bowl shows signs of gilding.


c. 1750



Porcelain (hard-paste), enamel, gilt


Overall: 3 3/4 in. x 8 1/4 in. (9.53 cm x 20.96 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of Dr. Stephen Bleeker Luce, Jr., 1962


Painted on black enamel on the base of the bowl, inside the footrim are three illegible characters.

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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