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Antique Chinese Imari Barber’s Bowl

  • China, circa 1790
  • Dimensions: 10 1/4 inches diameter, 3 inches depth

A Barber’s Bowl is a shaving dish which is usually made in ceramic but can also be in silver. It was used by barbers in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. By the 19th century, barbers were commonly using this semi-circular bowl to not only cut hair, but also beards. Thus the barber became very popular as well as servicing a new need, and a new profession was created.

A wonderful 18th century Chinese Imari Barber’s Bowl with a vibrant Imari design. This name is used for both a pattern and colors which were for a specific type of Chinese porcelain. The Chinese got their inspiration from the earlier colors and designs of Japanese Imari porcelain. Chinese Imari is typically characterized by a combination of dry iron red enamel highlighted with gilt which is then applied as the underglaze on blue and white porcelain. In general, the Chinese Imari pieces have a brighter white and more purple-toned blue than the Japanese pieces. The red over-glaze is also thinner and closer to orange than in Japanese pieces. Japan made more versions of the Barber’s Bowls than the Chinese. Thus, we were fortunate to acquire this bowl.

This Barber’s Bowl is in pristine condition and has two holes at the top of the piece. This was done in order to put cords through the holes so that it could be hung on a wall. This 18th century Chinese Imari Barber’s Bowl is an exquisite piece, has wonderful vibrant tones and is in lovely condition.

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