As some of you may know, I (Kamini) have been quarantined at my Grandma’s house and over the last few weeks I’ve been raiding her cupboards in an effort to deep clean. I delved into the dark recesses of her home and have found a treasure trove of objects that I am not so secretly hoping she will leave me in her will. You’ve seen some of them in our Vintage Wednesday’s insta stories but I want to write about a recent find of mine last week, the Chinese Rice Grain Porcelain.
I used this serveware while we did the “Sunday lunch styling series” last weekend and my Mum pointed out that there were little rice grains embedded in the china. I immediately obsessed over these plates and found a research paper online breaking down all the patterns. So we have a set of salad plates, bowls and soup spoons with patterns ranging from ancient scrolls, bats, dragons and pearls but most importantly I found out that the rice is in fact not rice but little cuts in the shape of rice and a clear glaze to make it seem like it is. Boo.
These plates were gifted to my great grandparents. My great grandfather was in the foreign service and was posted in Hong Kong in the mid 50’s when they got them. Identified by the base mark “signature” at the bottom of the plate as Wan Yu, they can be identified as a part of the Late Qing or Republic period. The pattern around the signature at the bottom of the plate are scrolls, daggers and what looks like a kite and the bottom of the bowl are these lovely leaves with gold accents. Turn both around and the center of the bowl has delicate chrysanthemums, while the salad plate’s hero image is a mighty dragon with a pearl and lot’s of flames! This bad boy is surrounded with four patterned rings, the first being the “shou” symbol, blue bat and “I-ching” symbols, the rice grains outlined in iron red enamel or gold with floral Buddhist scrolls and lastly the diaper border which is apparently quite common.