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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1400
Creation End Date: 1433
Creation Date: Ming period, early 15th century
Creation Place: China, Jiangxi Province
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Porcelain painted with underglaze copper red (Jingdezhen ware)
Dimensions: H. 3/4 in. (1.9 cm); D. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.154
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
The history of the Chinese ceramic industry from the late 13th to the early 15th century is one of constant innovation in both technology and taste. Unlike the earlier Song period, during which a wide range of types was produced in kilns throughout China, during the Yuan (1279-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties, most ceramics were produced at the Jingdezhen kiln complexes located in Jiangxi Province. Some of the earliest porcelain in the world was manufactured at this complex, the site of some of the most important technical innovations and refinements in the history of ceramics, including the perfection of the technique for painting decoration under the glaze using a blue pigment derived from cobalt (imported from Iran, where it had long been used in ceramic glazes). This technology led to the creation of China's famous blue-and-white wares.
Another innovation, seen on the small dish illustrated here, was the use of underglaze red, colored using a copper oxide. The red color of the underglaze copperpigment is notoriously difficult to achieve during firing, and pieces decorated exclusively with this color are scarcer than the well-known blue-and-white examples. Nonetheless, underglaze copper-red wares became popular and were made in some number during the reign of the first Ming emperor, Hongwu (r. 1368-1398). Shards from such wares were discovered at the Hongwu palace site in Nanjing, which suggests that they were used at the court. The presence of several copper-red wares from the late 14th century in the palace museums in Beijing and Taipei also supports this presumption. In addition, some ceramics decorated with a copper-based pigment were exported; examples are known in the Philippines.
This dish illustrates a standard use of underglaze copper red. The dish is decorated with scrolling flowers, probably chrysanthemums, but the copper pigment fired to a dull gray, evidencing the difficulties inherent in working with this color. The fluid style of painting is characteristic of ceramics produced during the rule of the Yongle emperor (r. 1403-1424).
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, , p. 70.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E., and Wai-kam Ho. Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yüan Dynasty, 1279-1368. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1968, cat. no. 175.
Related Document Description: Sotheby Parke Bernet. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art (auction, London, July 5, 1977), lot 229.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.154
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, Asia Society
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