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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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A Chinese polychrome bowl, 6 in. (15.24 cm.) d.
Dec 14, 9:00 AM PST
A Chinese polychrome bowl, 6 in. (15.24 cm.) d.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $400- $600
$50010 Bids
A Nyonya covered soup container painted with shaped of phoenix and peonies blossom and leaves on a green ground
Dec 10, 12:30 PM ICT
A Nyonya covered soup container painted with shaped of phoenix and peonies blossom and leaves on a green ground
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿50,000- ฿70,000
฿55,0008 Bids
A Chinese bowl decorated in the Qianlong style 6 in. (15.24 cm.)
Dec 14, 9:00 AM PST
A Chinese bowl decorated in the Qianlong style 6 in. (15.24 cm.)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $100- $150
$1405 Bids
Fine Chinese QINGBAI Double Fish Bowl, Southern SONG dynasty
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
Fine Chinese QINGBAI Double Fish Bowl, Southern SONG dynasty
by Washingtonian Auction
Est: $500- $800
$1002 Bids
Vintage Chinese Covered Dish & Undertray
Dec 09, 8:00 AM EST
Vintage Chinese Covered Dish & Undertray
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $50- $150
$202 Bids
Pair of Yellow-Ground Green Glaze Dragon Bowls
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Pair of Yellow-Ground Green Glaze Dragon Bowls
by China Arts Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$4002 Bids
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TEESCHALE
Dec 12, 10:00 AM CET
TEESCHALE
by Schuler Auktionen
Est: CHF140- CHF200
CHF1401 Bid
Brass Chinese bowl, brass peacock, cat bowl, pisto…
Dec 11, 11:00 AM AEDT
Brass Chinese bowl, brass peacock, cat bowl, pisto…
by Amanda Addams Auctions
Est: AUD40- AUD60
AUD301 Bid
Chinese Guan Glaze Celadon Bowl,
Dec 15, 10:00 AM AEDT
Chinese Guan Glaze Celadon Bowl,
by Aalders Auctions
Est: AUD30- AUD60
AUD101 Bid
Vintage Blue White Centerpiece Fruit Bowl Yongshengtang Mark
Dec 17, 9:30 AM EST
Vintage Blue White Centerpiece Fruit Bowl Yongshengtang Mark
by Luban Antique
Est: $50- $100
$101 Bid
A Chinese Song style celadon bowl.
Dec 14, 9:00 AM PST
A Chinese Song style celadon bowl.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $200- $300
$1401 Bid
Chinese Song Dynasty Qingbai Ware Bowl,
Dec 15, 10:00 AM AEDT
Chinese Song Dynasty Qingbai Ware Bowl,
by Aalders Auctions
Est: AUD120- AUD220
AUD601 Bid
A Chinese Copper-Red Dish
Dec 10, 6:00 PM CST
A Chinese Copper-Red Dish
by Kelmscott's
Est: $600- $800
$3001 Bid
Chinese Tripod Bowl on Associated Stand
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
Chinese Tripod Bowl on Associated Stand
by Material Culture
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
A pair of Chinese floral and gilt decorated saucer dishes. 7 in. (17.78 cm.)
Dec 14, 9:00 AM PST
A pair of Chinese floral and gilt decorated saucer dishes. 7 in. (17.78 cm.)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $40- $60
$201 Bid
Chinese Jian Ware Black "Oil Spot" Glaze Bowl,
Dec 11, 12:00 PM AEDT
Chinese Jian Ware Black "Oil Spot" Glaze Bowl,
by Aalders Auctions
Est: AUD150- AUD250
AUD1201 Bid
Chinese Carved Jade Tea Bowl,
Dec 15, 10:00 AM AEDT
Chinese Carved Jade Tea Bowl,
by Aalders Auctions
Est: AUD40- AUD60
AUD201 Bid
Pair unusually large Song style celadon bowl
Dec 18, 2:00 PM PST
Pair unusually large Song style celadon bowl
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $300
$301 Bid
Good Chinese Qing Dynasty Cloisonne Bowl,
Dec 11, 12:00 PM AEDT
Good Chinese Qing Dynasty Cloisonne Bowl,
by Aalders Auctions
Est: AUD150- AUD250
AUD1201 Bid
Unusual Song style bowl
Dec 18, 2:00 PM PST
Unusual Song style bowl
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $80- $150
$201 Bid
A green glazed jun type bowl 4 3/4 in. (12.07 cm.)
Dec 14, 9:00 AM PST
A green glazed jun type bowl 4 3/4 in. (12.07 cm.)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $200- $300
$1401 Bid
(2) CHINESE CLOISONNE ENAMEL FISHBOWLS
Dec 11, 9:00 AM CST
(2) CHINESE CLOISONNE ENAMEL FISHBOWLS
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $800- $1,500
$6001 Bid
Chinese Cloisonne Bowl,
Dec 15, 10:00 AM AEDT
Chinese Cloisonne Bowl,
by Aalders Auctions
Est: AUD80- AUD120
AUD401 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Bowls


Aalders Auctions

Aalders Auctions

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Wichita Auctioneers

Wichita Auctioneers

Mega International Auction

Mega International Auction