Bowl with eight trigrams


Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Kangxi reign mark and period, 1662-1722
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under clear glaze
Jingdezhen ware
H x Diam: 6.9 x 12 cm (2 11/16 x 4 3/4 in)
China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 13: Looking Out, Looking In: Art in Late Imperial China
Ceramic, Vessel


bagua, China, cobalt pigment, Daoism, Jingdezhen ware, Kangxi reign (1662 - 1722), porcelain, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), trigram, WWII-era provenance

From at least 1884 to ?
Alfred Edward Hippisley (1848-1939), acquired in China. [1]

Sold at Anderson Galleries in 1925, lot 191. [2]

Unknown date
Ralph M. Chait Galleries, Inc., New York. [3]

From ? to 1995
J. J. Lally & Co. Oriental Art, New York. [4]

From 1995
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from J. J. Lally & Co. Oriental Art, New York. [5]


[1] According to Jan Stuart, Alfred E. Hippisley acquired the bowl while serving as Commissioner of the Maritime Customs in Shanghai and Beijing between 1876 and 1884. See Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record. Also see invoice from J. J. Lally & Co. dated February 1, 1995, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

[3] According to previous provenance notes, the object was at the Chait Galleries in New York, date unknown. Also see undated document from J. J. Lally & Co., and object file notes dated Nov. 9, 1995, copies in Collections Management Office.

[4] See document from J.J. Lally & Co. dated February 1, 1995, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[5] Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s)

Ralph M. Chait Galleries, Inc.
J. J. Lally & Co. Oriental Art
Anderson Galleries
Alfred Edward Hippisley 1848 - 1939


With its translucent porcelain body, purplish cobalt oxide design, and dramatic use of white space, this bowl is a fine example of the imperial porcelain wares produced at the Jingdezhen kiln during the reign of Qing emperor Kangxi (reigned 1662–1722). It features two of the best-known symbols associated with religious Daoism: a taiji diagram in the center of the interior and the bagua (Eight Trigrams) on the exterior. The taiji symbolizes the unity of the forces of yin and yang and the continuous regeneration of the universe. The Eight Trigrams are broken lines whose various combinations are believed to symbolize all the phenomena of the world.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum