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The Treasures Of Mr I. C. Su 2

The bonsai pot collection of Mr. I. C. Su from Taiwan is among the finest in the world.

A beautiful porcelain pot made for the emperor's court, judging from the yellow glaze.

The motifs look like painted on silk and they show peonies and a peach tree on the front side.

The peony is considered as the queen of flowers. The red ones are most popular, the white ones symbolize a young girl. Depending on the constellation with other plants they are illustrated with, they have many different meanings.

On this pot for example, the peony in combination with the peach tree symbolizes long life, wealth and prestige. The peach tree itself stands for longevity. In constellation with other symbols, like the bat for example, it has many more different meanings.

Very interesting is the porcelain technique of this pot. It is Ci-Xi porcelain (coloured porcelain). This type of porcelain was developed in the times when Ci-Xi, the emperor's mother, reigned the empire 1862 - 1874. (The Tondzhi time bears the name of the emperor, but in reality his mother Ci-Xi reigned the empire together with general Zeng Guofan)

At the beginning of the Qing-era, when Kangxi 1662 - 1722, Yongzheng 1723 - 1735, Qianlong 1736 - 1795, reigned as emperors, many different types of porcelain were developed, especially coloured porcelain like Fen-Cai ,Wu-Cai or Falang-Cai. They belong to the most noble porcelain types.

Ci-Xi however had the special ambition to develop her own porcelain from all those types. She let master artists paint coloured landscapes, plants and birds onto porcelain and gave it the name of the palaces where she lived.

Poetic names like " Da Ya Zhai", "Ti He Dian", "Chang Chun Gong" or "Wen Xiu Gong" etc.

In the end all this porcelain was called "Ci-Xi“ or coloured porcelain.

The porcelain pot shown above is from the Tongzhi-era (Quing-dynasty) and was auctioned in Hongkong.


 Blue-white porcelain

This piece was made using the "You Xia Cai" firing method (a more than 1000 years old complicated glaze firing method). The glaze coloured with cobalt oxide can be fired in an oxidation (with oxygen) as well in a reduction atmosphere (without oxygen). A glaze coloured with copper oxide can only be fired in a reduction atmosphere or in oxygen-lacking conditions which can be achieved artificially with an oxigen aspirating element like silicium carbide.

This pot shows a very spontaneous painting. In the picture frames there are decorative plant patterns. On the upper rim and on the socket of the pot miscellaneous meander patterns are painted.

This pot is from the Yongle-period (eternal joy) 1403 - 1424  of the Ming-dynasty. The Yongle emperor was one of the most important emperors of the Ming-dynasty.

As it was quite laborious and complicated to produce this pot, it is very valuable today and belongs to the very rare pieces.

It was auctioned in Hongkong in 1997.


A beautiful pair of pots from the Qianlong period (heavenly wealth) 1736 - 1795 of the Qing-dynasty 1644 - 1911 AD.

This pair of pots is very valuable, just because of the complicated production method. This technique is called "Cyenic Flower with Inglaze-red".

The glaze paintings on this pots were carried out masterly. Stylized dragons emerge from a floral pattern. Above the dragons hover stylized bats and below them peonies are flowering. In the center there are svastika, wan tsu. At the upper and lower rim there are interesting meander motifs.

There are countless interpretations of the meaning and combination of Chinese symbols. Simplified, the dragon stands for masculinity, the peony for prosperity and nobleness, the svastika for infinity and the bat, fu, stands for good luck.


This pot was made in the Kangxi period (flourishing wealth) 1662 - 1722 during the Qing-dynasty 1644 - 1911 AD.

This pot is made of three-colour porcelain.

The tenderness of the flower and fruit painting is outstanding, such a design on this kind of pot shape is very rare. A similar piece is in the collection of the museum of the forbidden city of Taipei.

This pot was auctioned in London.

Translation of the Chinese descriptions: Li Yang

Text revision: Peter Krebs

English translation: Heike van Gunst


This pot is a very fine example of the Cloisonné decoration technique.

On the lower rim of the socket there is a winding thunder meander. Above it there are sea waves with foaming spray. In the waves there are diverse individual symbols.

This is a masterpiece from the Qianlong period (heavenly wealth) 1736 - 1795 in the Qing-dynasty 1644 - 1911 AD.

The pot shown above was auctioned in New York.

Translation of the Chinese descriptions: Li Yang

Text revision: Peter Krebs

English translation: Heike van Gunst


This pot is from the Ming dynasty 1368 - 1643 AD. It is unkown in which period of the dynasty it was made. This pot was auctioned in London.

A Fa Hua pot. Fa hua is the Chinese expression for a cellular decoration technique.

Using this technique, several cranes, the symbol for longevity, were applied. Some of them are playing on the pond while other ones are relaxing on a rock. In the pond grows lotos, a symbol for purity and one of the eight treasures, and other water plants. On the dark background there were used white, orange, blue and other glaze colours.

The upper rim of the pot was decorated with a traditional Chinese meander motif. This is a very rare piece. 


Owner of the pots and photographs: I.C. Su

Translation of the Chinese descriptions: Li Yang

Text revision: Peter Krebs

English translation: Heike van Gunst