My aunts and uncle took turn to take care of her and my mother sometimes went back to China to see her. After a month we lost her. We had a hard time believing that she could leave so quick. But I guess at the age of 91, even the lightest illness can be too much a burden for her.
I took out the china that are passed down to me and had a good look at them as a gesture to celebrate this festival with her spiritually. There is nothing fancy here. They are just china used by villagers in their everyday life.
The first one I am going to share is this plate the size of a biscuit plate. In the middle there is a hand-painted carp. Carps are considered the creatures that can bring good luck. And because the word 'fish' has the similar pronunciation of the word 'remainder'/'left-over', it's often the subject painted in oriental china. In the old days, people were concerned about food supply so they often worried about their next meals, so having something left for the next meal is very important and so this carp signifies 'remain something for next meal/there is always food for next meal."
You can see that there are scratches in the middle. My mother told me that they used to eat off from this plate very often.
The next I am going to share is this rice bowl with four cranes painted around. Cranes signifies living a long life. Yes, every subject found in oriental china carries meaning. It is said that blue and white and cranes bring a sense of harmony.
This crane pattern was used during the 40's/50's up to the 80's for in the 80's I still saw this crane pattern. It's marked with what looks like an 'S'.
Next is this bigger bowl usually for containing meat or dishes with sauces. When my mother got married and held banquet in the village, she used all the bowls to contain food. This adds more meaning to this type of bowl.
Funny pattern is painted around but I could not make out what it is. I guess this one was made from the early 30's.
It has one of the Chinese characters from my grandfather's name engraved at the well of the bowl. This means hopefully he was blessed with enough food througout his whole life.
I guess this piece is the earliest example of all three pieces. The well is a bit rough.
I used the carp plate to contain sesame crunch/also called smiley crunch because it's like a blooming flower when cooked. It's one of the typical snacks for Chinese New Year.
These are the three pieces I choose to present here today. Looking at all three pieces and using them, they bring me back to the time of simplicity, it connects me to the past when many people were struggling with food/life, the past of people who lived during the civil war/WWII and felt lucky to be alive.
In memories of my grandma, Mrs. Wong Ma Tai Hou.