Saturday, January 17, 2015

Puzzling Evidence - A Chinese Cloisonne Bowl from the Warlord Era, 1923 - Gift from 馮玉祥 Feng Yuxiang

eBay vendor goldenguard has on offer what appears to be a rare piece of 20th century Chinese cloisonne - a shallow bowl with an inscription on the rim.  Is the piece of paper attached to the bottom an English translation of the rim characters?  And who was "General Fung Yuk Chang"?  Is this a bad transliteration of Feng Yuxiang's name? 
[Later: Yes, the characters do read "Feng Yuxiang."]
[Later still: a correspondent informs me that the "Fung Yuk Chang" transliteration is probably Cantonese]

He was an interesting person, indeed.  A Chinese acquaintance relates, "He drove the last emperor of China out of the Forbidden City in 1925 and was more highly evaluated  than other warlords of his time by the communist party."

An impressive memorial was constructed for his tomb.
Feng's career as a warlord began soon after the collapse of the Yuan Shikai government in 1916. Feng, however, distinguished himself from other regional militarists by governing his domains with a mixture of paternalistic Christian socialism and military discipline. He forbade prostitution, gambling and the sale of opium and morphia. From 1919, he was known as the 'Christian General'. --Wikipedia

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