The ‘Squirrel and Grapes’ motif carries an auspicious meaning. In Chinese, the squirrel is called a songshu (pine mouse) and grapes are called putao.
Since the pine is a symbol of longevity, and the -tao in putao has the same sound as the word for peach, which is another emblem of longevity, the motif brings with it the wish for a long life.
Also, as grapes have many seeds, and squirrels reproduce in great numbers, the motif also represents the wish for many offspring.
Similar pieces have been offered on the international market but this bowl, with a hairline crack, came for sale at Spicers (20% buyer’s premium) in Driffield on August 28 with an estimate of just £60-80.
The hammer price in East Yorkshire was £7300.