Heart-shaped metal brace on Chinese bowl, c.1770

I have never seen another repair quite like this. The porcelain bowl itself is fine but unremarkable: made in China in the mid-1700’s for export to North America and Europe, decorated in Famille Rose enamels with large stylized flowers and cobalt blue underglaze leaves.

But what makes this piece truly remarkable are the figural repairs. Rather than using standard metal staples or straps to join the broken pieces of the bowl, an inspired metalsmith cut three different shapes to form a unique bond. An unmistakeable heart-shaped brace sits below a strap shaped like a scepter. Each of these has short metal pins attached, which pass through small holes drilled into the side of the bowl.

This short metal strap, straddling a crack, resembles a bow tie.

Bowl measures 4″ high and has a diameter of 8-1/4″.

A single red blossom surrounded by spidery blue leaves is found at the center of the bowl and a decorative border is painted along the inner rim.

The inside of the bowl reveals the carefully hammered ends of the metal brace pins, which are mostly masked by the deep cobalt painted decoration.

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9 Responses to “Heart-shaped metal brace on Chinese bowl, c.1770”

  1. David says:

    They’re like bowl beauty marks.

  2. BB says:

    Such a thoughtful piece. Repaired with love obviously! Thanks for sharing Andrew!

  3. nina says:

    fantastic , I am a ceramic artist and enjoy your found objects. they are always a delight to look at and how they are repaired with love and not discarded. haven’t seen any in Australia yet.

  4. Larry Terricone says:

    Another interesting piece. Also of interest is that the piece was thought of fondly and it was “clobbered”, the blue overpainting on the original Chinese decorating.

  5. Ruth says:

    What did they use to drill into the porcelain? I have been trying to figure that out for a while now…

  6. Please take a look at this entry for an explanation of drilling into porcelain: http://andrewbaseman.com/blog/?p=1818

  7. Kevin Gummer says:

    I’m with David! Patches, beautty spots or “mouches’.
    The placement of the drill holes is extraordinary!

  8. Catherine says:

    How beautiful! Happy to find your blog. Thank you for the interesting entries -

  9. Victoria says:

    I love the make do and inventive repair idea. A couple of contemporary artists take it to a slightly new level. English artist Cleo Mussi makes vibrant ornaments and mosaics from disgarded ceramics. Netherlands artist Bouke de Vries also incorporates broken porcelain in his beautiful art works, most under a glass dome, which is one of my favourite display methods.

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