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Chinese Bowls

Bowls, originally created for the purpose of holding foods, have been used by the Chinese for thousands of years. The Chinese made bowls out of mostly bronze or ceramic since the Neolithic times, and used them to serve noodles, rice, porridge, and tea. The practice of forming bowls and embellishing them with household scenes or traditional motifs is one that has not been diminished by time.

Having cultivated rice for at least three to four thousand years, Chinese culture has often been dubbed “rice-culture." One of the products of China’s dependence on rice as a staple is the rice bowl, which is usually no larger than the size of cupped hands, and is characterized by a very short round foot-rim at the bottom of the basin. Larger variations of this bowl are made for more liquid food such as porridge or soups.

Over time, bowls have been created for other uses besides food. Large ceramic fish bowls were most often made of porcelain and set on top of beautifully carved wooden stands. In ancient times, these bowls were used to hold goldfish. Now, they are predominantly used as decorative planters.


Quick Facts

  • The large ceramic fish bowls were not used in ancient times and a permanent location for fish. Fish were usually kept in ponds and transferred to a bowl in the case of visitors
  • Rice bowls are held traditionally with the thumb at the outermost edge of the bowl, with all other fingers supporting the bottom. The small foot is then useful to keep the bowl from scorching the hand if it is holding hot rice
  • Banpo, discovered in 1953, contains evidence of bowls that are dated between 4800-4300 B.C.

Recommended Items at Auction

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Signed Antique Chinese Iron Red Dragon Bowl
Feb 24, 11:00 AM EST
Signed Antique Chinese Iron Red Dragon Bowl
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $100- $15,000
$1,00021 Bids
Chinese Silver Presentation Bowl Early 20th Century
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Chinese Silver Presentation Bowl Early 20th Century
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$4508 Bids
Ming Dynasty Chinese Longquan Celadon Bowl
Feb 24, 11:00 AM EST
Ming Dynasty Chinese Longquan Celadon Bowl
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $20- $15,000
$204 Bids
Antique Yuan Dynasty Chinese Jun Glaze Bowl
Feb 24, 11:00 AM EST
Antique Yuan Dynasty Chinese Jun Glaze Bowl
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $20- $15,000
$204 Bids
Ming Dynasty Lotus/Dragon Design Jingdezhen Bowl
Feb 25, 10:00 AM MST
Ming Dynasty Lotus/Dragon Design Jingdezhen Bowl
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
2pc Chinese Carved Spinach Jade Bowls
Feb 25, 10:00 AM MST
2pc Chinese Carved Spinach Jade Bowls
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$302 Bids
Vintage Chinese 5 Toe Dragon Bat Carved Resin Figural Bowl 6.25 Inches Wide 1.4lbs
Mar 02, 12:00 PM EST
Vintage Chinese 5 Toe Dragon Bat Carved Resin Figural Bowl 6.25 Inches Wide 1.4lbs
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $100- $500
$101 Bid
Chinese Sodalite Tripod Covered Bowl
Feb 22, 2:00 PM EST
Chinese Sodalite Tripod Covered Bowl
by A.B.Levy’s Palm Beach
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$7501 Bid
Ming Dynasty Red 5-Claw Dragon Jingdezhen Bowl
Feb 25, 10:00 AM MST
Ming Dynasty Red 5-Claw Dragon Jingdezhen Bowl
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
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Pair Chinese Spinach Jade Bowls
Feb 23, 11:00 AM PST
Pair Chinese Spinach Jade Bowls
by Wealthier Art & Auction
Est: $50- $100
$201 Bid
CHINESE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC ERA PUNCH BOWL
Feb 25, 12:00 PM EST
CHINESE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC ERA PUNCH BOWL
by John McInnis Auctioneers
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
Chinese Ru Kiln Celadon Lotus Bowl With Calligraphy And Seal Mark
Mar 16, 12:00 PM EDT
Chinese Ru Kiln Celadon Lotus Bowl With Calligraphy And Seal Mark
by RB Fine Arts
Est: $300- $600
$801 Bid
A Chinese Green Jade Bowl
Feb 24, 8:30 AM EST
A Chinese Green Jade Bowl
by Luban Antique
Est: $50- $200
$101 Bid
3 Chinese Bronze & Champleve Planters
Feb 22, 11:00 AM EST
3 Chinese Bronze & Champleve Planters
by Willow Auction House
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
Chinesische Kunst und Antiquitäten, Schalen mit grünen Glasuren, ca. D. 22 cm
Mar 02, 3:00 PM CET
Chinesische Kunst und Antiquitäten, Schalen mit grünen Glasuren, ca. D. 22 cm
by Signens Kunstauktionen
Est: €50- €200
€251 Bid
Chinese Cloisonné Enamel Bowls & Condiments
Feb 25, 10:30 AM AEDT
Chinese Cloisonné Enamel Bowls & Condiments
by Kerleys Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD100
AUD251 Bid
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Chinese Export Silver Dragon Bowl
Mar 12, 2:00 PM EDT
Chinese Export Silver Dragon Bowl
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $900- $2,000
$801 Bid
LONGQUAN KILN CONCEALED FLOWER BOWL
Feb 24, 3:00 PM PST
LONGQUAN KILN CONCEALED FLOWER BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$6000 Bids
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Song JunYao Bowl
Mar 09, 1:30 PM EST
Song JunYao Bowl
by Wensly Auctions
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$3000 Bids
PAIR CHINESE POLYCHROME PAINTED JADE BOWLS
Feb 25, 9:30 AM EST
PAIR CHINESE POLYCHROME PAINTED JADE BOWLS
by Berkeley Auction Gallery
Est: $6,000- $9,000
$1,5000 Bids
Chinese Cloisonne Enamel Large Bowl with Wood Base
Feb 24, 8:30 AM EST
Chinese Cloisonne Enamel Large Bowl with Wood Base
by Luban Antique
Est: $50- $300
$100 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Bowls


Mega International Auction

Mega International Auction

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

DotDot Art Gallery Inc

DotDot Art Gallery Inc

Galerie Zacke

Galerie Zacke