A Kangxi Period Porcelain Buckle

By Lim Yah Chiew, SEACS Councillor (2002-2019)

This porcelain buckle was produced in the early Qing dynasty during the Kangxi period (1662-1722). The colors are brilliant and of the famille verte style, which means pigments of five colors were used to paint the motif over the glaze. Only after the Kangxi period are the famille rose pigments, meaning powdery colors including pink, sky blue and light green, found.

On this piece, we can see a carp jumping up high from the sea. Once the fish passes through the dragon gate on top, it will turn into a dragon.  It bears significant symbolism to congratulate a scholar who has passed the imperial examination and will soon be appointed a high ranking official to serve in the Imperial Court.

I like this piece as it reflects the life of our ancestors three hundred years ago yet we still wear buckles today, the difference being that today most buckles are metal. I admire this porcelain buckle as it is both elegant and scholarly, particularly in its craftsmanship and high-skilled art work.