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I have bought a small bowl on the flea market it and it has this signature on the bottom. I am trying to figure out what is written there but I am neither Chinese or Japanese. Are you able to tell what's it says? Thank you for your help.

  • 2
    Give me a suggestion, you should ask those Chinese antique experts. Even for us Chinese people, recognizing these characters is very difficult
    – AS_D
    Aug 27, 2023 at 13:21
  • @AS_D 哈哈, 像反弹😂 Aug 31, 2023 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


In view of character, the second character looks like 缘 to me. The left of it could be 纟 and the bottom of it could be 豕 in cursive Chinese handwriting.

I doubt it is 化缘(verb, huà yuán), which means begging when being a Buddhist(佛教徒) or Taoist(道教徒) monk. Given that monks (actually most of Chinese beggers) usually 化缘 with a bowl or plate to contain money or food he/she gets, it do make sense that a plate would have this written on it (as a sense of humour? Maybe).

  • Thank you,So many different views on this. I have seen a similar items made in similar styles and someone says it is Matsumine . Here are links to different pieces, but im my opinion the signatures are not as on my item. Could that be it? jp.mercari.com/item/m87529557025 and jp.mercari.com/item/m72585565697 Aug 29, 2023 at 9:37
  • The second character don't seem like 峰, it don't have the 丰 under it (only two 横)
    – Tec99
    Sep 3, 2023 at 15:13

It is indeed someone's name written in cursive chinese characters (could be any cjkv language with no context). While its clear its a name, chinese cursive is closer in concept to english shorthand. This means that the tiniest change in the length or shape of a single line can change which character it is. Unless you are already familiar with that exact font context is key to figure out which one it is.

Unfortunately, the context for names is that almost anything can be a name. Even if it is only common characters (which has no guarantee) there are hundreds of possibilities for names and dozens for these characters. In most works you at least have a poem or other text with context to get used to their font as a hint to read the names, but that is not the case here.

To be clear, this is not impossible to read, but you would need a cursive calligraphy expert, just like in english you would seek out a shorthand expert. Also note, that even if you identify the characters, that still wouldn't even tell you which country of origin it has, due to the shared culture of writing names with chinese characters in multiple languages.

I highly doubt it is actually 沙漿, and these two characters are just my brain reading words in the cursive while searching for patterns. However I am including them as they are actually possibilities of what the cursive could be-- hope this helps show just how different cursive is from regular characters in daily life :)

  • Hm, there are no "cursive characters" in Chinese per se. You can write in 行書 and 草書 but these are not standardized. Each person has his unique approach, although there are clearly large overlaps. Aug 29, 2023 at 3:25
  • @fatpenguin in this case I was referring to 草書。 I fully agree with you but did not think Anna would know these terms, so chose cursive as an english version of the concept, while trying to explain that 草書 is not the same as english cursive using the shorthand comparison :)
    – zagrycha
    Aug 30, 2023 at 2:11

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