Chinese porcelain bowl
Found during excavations by Winchester Museums Service Archaeology Section in a field just east of Wickham Square (opposite St Nicholas Church) in the mid- to late 1970s
This bowl, found in the backfill of a cess pit on the site of Wickham Manor House, is decorated with two motifs from the Buddhist Pa-Pao, or eight Precious Things- the artemisia leaf and the book tied with auspcious ribbons. In China, strips of red cloth could be tied around any charm to represent its special aura.
The bowl is a kiln second, as there are firing cracks on the foot, but the East India Company who were responsible for importing such pots required merchants to buy 'China ware' at auction in job lots, irrespective of damage unless they were actually broken. At the time, the second and third decades of the 17th century, Chinese porcelain would have been a luxury commodity in Hampshire, and the well-to-do family living at the manor would have been happy to regard the bowl as perfect.