The beauty and stories of Taiwan’s ancient bowls and plates will continue to inspire people and fill us with respect for Taiwan’s rich cultural heritage. (Provided by Chen Nanrong)
[The Epoch Times, November 21, 2023](Epoch Times reporter Liao Lifen reported from Yunlin, Taiwan) Taiwan’s cultural traditions are rich and diverse, and one of them is Taiwan’s early bowl and plate art. Mr. Chen Nanrong, a keen bowler and plate collector with more than 60 years of history, is full of respect and emotion for these unique works of art. His collection is not only a memory of Taiwan’s past life, but also a deep tribute to his mother’s hardworking and capable spirit.
Although Chen Nanrong’s mother is not literate, she manages dozens of banquet tables at the restaurant in Yunlin Linnei. Every banquet requires preparation of ingredients such as chicken, duck, fish, pig’s trotters, etc., as well as hundreds of bowls, Plates, spoons, wine glasses and other tableware. Most of the ingredients come from the West Market in Douliu City, so cleaning the tableware after each banquet has become a huge task.
Mr. Chen Nanrong deeply missed his mother’s ability and endurance during her lifetime, so he decided to commemorate her with action. From being afraid of washing dishes when he was a child, to now washing Taiwan’s early hand-painted dishes, he is full of joy and gratitude. He has preserved many early Taiwanese dishes and continues to post on the Internet to show these precious works of art to everyone.
Most of Taiwan’s early bowls and plates were purely hand-painted and came from a variety of sources:
The early ancestors of Taiwan brought from the mainland or made in Taiwan the Qing Dynasty unglazed astringent bowls and plates, blue and white bowls and painted bowls and plates, etc.
Most of the blue and white bowls and plates and painted bowls and plates during the Japanese colonial period were imported from Japan or manufactured in Taiwan.
Most of Taiwan’s ancient bowls and plates from the early to later stages of Taiwan’s restoration are the products of ceramic craftsmen who stayed in Taiwan. The most distinctive feature is the “carmine red” characteristic of northern Taiwan’s porcelain.
“Carmine” is a famous porcelain bowl and plate manufacturing place in Taiwan. It is characterized by a light and transparent pink tone. Because of its pink tone, the color is like the rouge on the lips of a lady, hence the name. Taiwan’s early bowls and plates spanned the Qing Dynasty to 1970. This period was full of Taiwanese bowl and plate art.
Every ancient bowl and plate in Taiwan reflects the life of that time. Whether it is the painted bowls and plates used by wealthy families or the rough bowls and plates used by ordinary people, they fully demonstrate the gap between the rich and the poor in Taiwanese society at that time. The colorful totems on these bowls and plates are all hand-painted, which contain the love for life and the inheritance of the virtues of diligence and thrift of our ancestors. They incorporate various meanings, such as “shrimp” representing gratitude to guests, and “chicken” admonishing the world to be wise. Only by being punctual and diligent in running the house can you “get rich”, and the bowls and plates with the word “福” encourage people to know and cherish blessings in everything. These patterns symbolize a hundred years of good cooperation and prosperity every year, and are full of joyful atmosphere.
Chen Nanrong’s collection is not only a display of art, but also an exploration of the history and culture of Taiwanese porcelain manufacturing. His collection brings the beauty and depth of Taiwan’s early bowls and dishes to the public, allowing us to re-understand and appreciate the uniqueness of Taiwan’s early bowls and dishes.
Editor in charge: Du Wenqing