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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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Vintage Chinese Plique à Jour Bowl
Jun 23, 3:00 PM MST
Vintage Chinese Plique à Jour Bowl
by Ace Of Estates
Est: $0- $0
$454 Bids
A PAIR OF 19TH CENTURY CHINESE CANTON ENAMEL TEABOWLS ON STANDS Qing. 14cm x 10 cm.
Jun 18, 10:00 AM BST
A PAIR OF 19TH CENTURY CHINESE CANTON ENAMEL TEABOWLS ON STANDS Qing. 14cm x 10 cm.
by Hannam's Auctioneers
Est: £30- £50
£82 Bids
A Luenwo footed silver bowl. Shanghai. Around 1900
Jun 18, 11:00 AM CEST
A Luenwo footed silver bowl. Shanghai. Around 1900
by Kunsthaus Lempertz KG
Est: €1,000- €1,500
€7501 Bid
(4) CHINESE MINIATURE SPINACH JADE BOWLS
Jun 29, 11:00 AM EDT
(4) CHINESE MINIATURE SPINACH JADE BOWLS
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
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A FINE JUN KILN BOWL
Jun 22, 10:00 AM EDT
A FINE JUN KILN BOWL
by William's Auctions, LLC
Est: $120- $180
$601 Bid
Two Chinese Table Articles, 20th Century
Jun 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Two Chinese Table Articles, 20th Century
by Topwells
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid
Chinese Monochrome Liver Red Dish
Jun 14, 10:00 AM EDT
Chinese Monochrome Liver Red Dish
by Alex Cooper
Est: $10,000- $15,000
$5,0001 Bid
Chinese Monochrome Cobalt Glazed Dish
Jun 14, 10:00 AM EDT
Chinese Monochrome Cobalt Glazed Dish
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Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,0001 Bid
A Chinese Bronze ‘Xianwen’ Bowl
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
A Chinese Bronze ‘Xianwen’ Bowl
by Golden State Auction Gallery
Est: $2,000- $8,000
$2,0001 Bid
GILDED BOWLS, CHOPSTICKS AND SPOONS
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
GILDED BOWLS, CHOPSTICKS AND SPOONS
by Mega International Auction
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$6000 Bids
LI POWDER TRACE GOLD EIGHT TREASURE SANSKRIT HIGH FOOT BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
LI POWDER TRACE GOLD EIGHT TREASURE SANSKRIT HIGH FOOT BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $900- $1,500
$5000 Bids
QINGBAI MOULDED CELADON BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
QINGBAI MOULDED CELADON BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $700- $1,000
$4000 Bids
ALUM RED TRACE GOLD HUNDRED CHILD FIGURE BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
ALUM RED TRACE GOLD HUNDRED CHILD FIGURE BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$6000 Bids
YELLOW BOTTOM BLUE AND WHITE DRAGON PATTERN BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
YELLOW BOTTOM BLUE AND WHITE DRAGON PATTERN BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
QING DYNASTY PASTEL LONGEVITY BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
QING DYNASTY PASTEL LONGEVITY BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,3000 Bids
PEACOCK BLUE GLAZE ENGRAVED FISH ALGAE PATTERN MELON RIDGE BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
PEACOCK BLUE GLAZE ENGRAVED FISH ALGAE PATTERN MELON RIDGE BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
ENAMEL NINE ELDERS STORY INSCRIPTION POEM BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
ENAMEL NINE ELDERS STORY INSCRIPTION POEM BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
BLUE AND WHITE CLOUD DRAGON GRAIN BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
BLUE AND WHITE CLOUD DRAGON GRAIN BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $2,500- $3,500
$1,7000 Bids
BLUE GROUND ENAMEL COLOR WRAPPED BRANCHES FLOWER BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
BLUE GROUND ENAMEL COLOR WRAPPED BRANCHES FLOWER BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $2,500- $3,500
$1,5000 Bids
SECRET COLOR CELADON CARVED EIGHT IMMORTALS BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
SECRET COLOR CELADON CARVED EIGHT IMMORTALS BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $1,500- $2,200
$9000 Bids
RU KILN SKY GREEN GLAZE KUI MOUTH BIG BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
RU KILN SKY GREEN GLAZE KUI MOUTH BIG BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,1000 Bids
QING DYNASTY BRONZE POMEGRANATE WATER BOWL
Jun 15, 3:00 PM PDT
QING DYNASTY BRONZE POMEGRANATE WATER BOWL
by Mega International Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,3000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Bowls


Mega International Auction

Mega International Auction

Hannam's Auctioneers

Hannam's Auctioneers

Historia Auctionata

Historia Auctionata

Hermann Historica GmbH

Hermann Historica GmbH