Beyond A Bowl — Rice Bowls and Our Culture – SCENE SHANG

Beyond A Bowl — Rice Bowls and Our Culture

IN ASIAN COUNTRIES where rice is a staple food of cultural significance and economic importance, the rice bowl is not regarded as just a functional object.

The literal meaning of our rice bowl  — a symbol of nourishment and providing food for oneself

A bowl of rice on the table represents the reward for the hard work that was put in during the day. The word for rice in Chinese is the same as that for food. The Chinese concept of an “iron rice bowl” thus refers to the system of guaranteed lifetime employment in state enterprises. Those who had an "iron rice bowl" is said to have a stable income to provide food for themselves and their family under any circumstances.

The literal meaning of our rice bowl  — a symbol of togetherness

As explored in Rice Bowl - a first novel from the first Singapore Literature Prize Winner, Suchen Christine Lim, the rice bowl is a symbol of togetherness in the Chinese culture. This notion was gradually integrated over time due to the use of the rice bowl during Chinese reunion dinners and family dinners.

Rice bowl made in 1800-1850 in Jingdezhen. With the vast interchange of knowledge and culture between Japan and China from the earliest times, it seems likely that this transference of ancient knowledge may be why rice bowls are the size they are.

The dimensions of a rice bowl are derived from the measurements of the human hand. Traditionally, the ‘ideal bowl’ is said to be one that creates a 12-cm sphere when two identical bowls are cupped together.

The IN GOOD COMPANY Rice Bowl is a collaboration with a local fashion company, IN GOOD COMPANY. The company explores the creation of the form of a tableware using fabrics that they work with for their fashion line.

The material used to cast the resulting shape of the IN GOOD COMPANY Rice Bowl is a full needle knit material known for being malleable and following the forms that it wraps and drapes on. The rice bowl has a soft texture on the outer surface that can be felt when caressed with both hands. Holding the rice bowl in your hand therefore becomes a very sensual experience.

Similar to the Middle Kingdom Polychrome Bowls, IN GOOD COMPANY Rice Bowls made of porcelain are handcrafted by the same craftsmen in Jingdezhen.


IN GOOD COMPANY (IGC) is about people. It’s about being in excellent companionship with like-minded people and the curious; it’s about working and collaborating with creative people and brands. Co-founded by four friends in December 2012, IGC is touted as the definitive brand for modern classics with a twist. A label of wardrobe essentials, IGC’s aesthetic is defined by clean silhouettes and a blend of relaxed tailoring with surprising details.

Featured in this post:
Middle Kingdom Extra Small Porcelain Polychrome Bowl
Middle Kingdom Small Porcelain Polychrome Bowl
Middle Kingdom Large Porcelain Polychrome Bowl
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