Subject:Need help on seal script translation involving Nonya ware
Posted By: Bill H Tue, Sep 10, 2019 IP: 2601:342:200:6e70:ed
Just when I thought I'd gotten a handle on everything in my collection, I recently discovered that one of my favorite handbooks on Straits Chinese or 'Nonya' porcelains may contain a spurious reading of one artist's mark. Since I've been following the book's lead on such translations, especially with seal-script (zhuanshu) markings, I'm anxious to verify the findings.
The problematic Nonya/Peranikan/Straits Chinese mark from the book also happens to be on the back of a 7.75-inch plate of mine, images of which piece appear below with the picture of the mark annotated as to particulars. In a nutshell, the book I've been depending has the name of this porcelain painter as Wang Shen-shu (汪生肅), or Wang Shengsu in Mandarin pinyin. It appears fairly certain now that the third character of the name, Su/肅, is incorrect, and should be Tai/泰.
There definitely is or was a porcelain artist named Wang Shengtai (汪生泰) working circa the late Qing-to-Republic period, as I've found examples of his work. Oddly, I think, is that most of what I've found so far of works by this artist have been vases in the Qianjiang style and pale enamel palette, which is light years from Nonya wares. However, I found one standard character mark of 'Made by Wang Shengtai' (汪生泰造 - Wang sheng tai zao) among some standard Nonya dishes in a pattern similar to what's on the plate shown below. These dishes were on page 11 of a Malaysian auction catalog (link pasted below). I mention the page number, because on page 13 of the same catalog was a lot with three dishes described as having marks of 'Wang Sheng Su'; the one shown was identical to what's in the book and on my plate below.
What I hope to learn with this query is whether Wang Shengtai is the correct reading of the name on my dish and to get views on whether the dichotomy in styles between Qianjiang and Nonya might mean there were two artists working out there at one time with the name Wang Shengtai.
All comments welcome.