This red glazed plate with golden “Xi” (happiness) was particularly for Tongzhi Emperor’s wedding. The plate has an open mouth, a shallow arc-shaped body, a flat bottom and a rounded base. The plate is overall red glazed, with a circle of gold enamel decorated around the mouth rim. The inner wall is fully depicted with a lot of character “Xi”s in gold enamel, and on the outer wall there are flowers and branches painted with powder enamel. On the rounded base there is inscribed a four-character mark “Tongzhi Nianzhi” (made during Tongzhi Period) in regular script. Red glaze and gold enamel are applied at the same time, conveying joy and happiness.
Only four emperors in Qing Dynasty—Shunzhi, Kangxi, Tongzhi and Guangxu—got married after ascending the throne, and therefore there are not many wedding wares passed down and remained. The files recording Tongzhi’s wedding wares are fairly clear, and the wares are in good conditions, thus a valuable reference to study porcelains for celebrations in the royal family in Qing Dynasty. Tongzhi’s wedding was held in September in the 11th year of Tongzhi’s reign (1872), while the wedding ware making started already in March in the 7th year under Tongzhi’s reign (1868). By lunar January in the 11th year of Tongzhi’s reign, 10,072 porcelain works were finished in total over the previous four years. Most wares for Tongzhi’s wedding were utensils for daily life, coming in sets, categorized into 24 types. Patterns on these wares include mainly birds, flowers, auspicious designs and Chinese characters. Tongzhi’s wedding wares are of delicate craftsmanship, diversified shapes, with joyous designs and bright glaze colors, demonstrating luxury and magnificence of imperial porcelain works.