Patterns

The tableware patterns in the collection have been mostly limited to The Four Seasons pattern, Bamboo and Peony pattern, Celadon of a certain style, Double Happiness motif on simple Sweet Pea design, the Attributes of the Eight Immortals pattern and the Longevity motif. These appear to be among the most common patterns favoured by Chinese pioneers in North America. The Four Seasons pattern has been displayed sufficiently on the previous page. Displayed here are several pieces not previously shown in this virtual museum of North American used Chinese artifacts and collectables. Archaeologists have found fragments of all of these at sites in the United States and Canada. You can still find shards where the bottle diggers have been digging.

Bamboo pattern--- (bamboo and peony) The bowl on the left came from Vancouver's Chinese community by way of the calligraphy shop on Pender Street. The second bowl on the left came from Victoria BC's Chinatown. The third and fourth bowls were dug in the Northern California Feather River Canyon area near Oroville, Ca. The fourth bowl has suffered more than the third from being buried in an 1880s dump! The first bowl on the right was used in a Chinese restaurant in Angel's Camp, California pre 1900. It has a slightly different shape than the other two but very similar markings and has the two blue rings inside, same as the others.




Celadon--- The bowl on the back left came from a Chinese restaurant in Angel's Camp, California, used before 1900. The two cups on the front left came from San Diego. The other bowl, cup and the two tiny liquor cups came from Vancouver's Chinese community by way of the calligraphy shop on Pender St.





Double Happiness motif (on simple Sweet Pea design or swirl)--- The bowl on the left, 6" in diameter, came from Vancouver's Chinatown. The next two bowls (also approximately 6" in diameter) came from the Tri-Cities in Eastern Washington State collected in 2003 by my source. The bowl on the right, 4" in diameter, came from an antique emporium in San Rafael, California. The four small cups and the tiny wine cup are from Somerset, NJ, from an old collection. The spoon (probably 20th C.) came from Minnisota.


"Attributes of the Eight Immortals" pattern--- Sauce pourer, two liquor warmer/servers, a covered bowl, two bowls, five tea cups, wine cup and spoons. The pieces on the left are a red-orange, the other pieces are a lighter yellow-orange. This pattern seems to have only these two body colours with perhaps some minor variations. You can see similar pieces in the Asian American Comparative Collection illustrations. These were used and collected in BC and California. The spoons were recently added, one from the USA and one obtained in BC.



Shown separately are a very nice "Attributes of the Eight Immortals" pattern bowl and spoon. These are in the yellow-orange colour. There are bowls like this one with the white background areas shown in the Asian American Comparative Collection. I've never seen them anywhere else. This bowl and spoon came from an emporium in Georgia, USA.



Longevity motif--- At the back are four small longevity motif bowls (4" brim diameter) from New York. The one on the right has a slightly different pattern than the other three. In front on the left are two longevity motif cups obtained in 1973 from a bottle digger in Victoria, BC, both dug on Vancouver Island. The third cup from the left was obtained in Seattle, Wa. On the right is an interesting hexagonal longevity motif cup from Vancouver Island.



I obtained a few of the Vancouver Island pieces from a collector who was selling his collection. Many of his items came from an antique shop in Victoria, I believe in the 1970s, which had Chinese ownership and much of the stock in that shop came from the Victoria Chinese community and from Vancouver Island digs. I obtained the hexagonal cup from this collector and also a couple of dug Four Seasons bowls and other Four Seasons items. During that era the bottle digging craze was on and I imagine the shop obtained some stock from the many diggers' shows and sales. Sunday drive-in theatre sales by diggers and collectors were also common during that period. Vendors sold collectables out of the backs of vans and on tables in long rows in those drive-in sales. The point being that these items were authentic BC used Chinese pieces, not imported from China for sale to collectors.

An antique emporium is a great place to find local pieces. An emporium is a group of small separate shops in a building and you often can find a Chinese item among other random pieces. In almost all cases these items will have been locally used, sourced at garage sales, local auctions or brought in by people clearing out old "junk". You can find very nice emporia in Chemainus and Fort Langley, BC.