Conical Bowl with the Three Friends of Winter
Artist/maker unknown, Chinese
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Dubbed the “Three Friends of Winter,” the bamboo, pine, and plum that ornament this bowl remain green and blossom during the winter months. Collectively they symbolize fortitude and resilience in adverse conditions, moral qualities associated with the gentleman scholar. Imperial blue-and-white wares from this early period were decorated with cobalt imported from Persia that produced a deep, inky blue hue. The dark specks are from excess cobalt in the glaze.