Punch bowl

Chinese
1790–1800


Object Place: China for American Market

Dimensions

Overall: 13 x 31.1 cm (5 1/8 x 12 1/4 in.); diameter: 31.1cm (12 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

1991.401

Medium or Technique

Porcelain

Not On View

Collections

Americas, Asia

Classifications

Porcelain

The punch bowl has a central flower and cornucopia design and a striking gold and green border composed of vertical rows of gold spearheads alternating with green lozenges bewlow gold cross-hatching. There is an intertwined green vine and gold spearhead border near foot. Some wear at rim where ladle would have rested.


In the eighteenth century, punch was a favorite beverage of American colonists, particularly men. Probably originating in India and introduced to America through England, punch was a mixture of rum or brandy, sugar, lime or lemon juice, the zest of the rind, and water. Punch recipes were strictly guarded. Drunk out of the bowl or served in wineglasses, punch was used to toast an achievement or occasion or simply to welcome visitors. Punch and punch bowls became signs of hospitality and conviviality.

Provenance

Elbridge Gerry; descended lineal to Elizabeth (Mrs. Smauel Eliot) Morison (b 1886); to her daughter, Emily Morison Beck; 1991, gift of Emily Morison Beck to the MFA. (Accession date: May 22, 1990)

Credit Line

Gift of Emily Morison Beck