Chinese / Bowl / Ming period, early 15th centuryChinese
Ming period, early 15th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Bowl
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 cobalt blue (Jingdezhen ware)
Dimensions: H. 5 3/8 in. (14.3 cm); D. 13 3/8 in. (34 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.169
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: 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, produced for both domestic and export markets. Iran, Turkey, and India were the primary patrons for blue-and-white ware during the Yuan and early Ming dynasties. As a result, some of the most extensive collections of 14th- and 15th-century Chinese blue-and-white ware are preserved today in the Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul and the Ardebil Shrine in Tehran. However, early Yuan blue-and-white wares have been excavated from many regions of China--including the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Shandong, as well as Inner Mongolia--which suggests that by this time they were used domestically as well as exported.

This large bowl, painted with images of fruits and flowers in underglaze cobalt blue, illustrates the imperial taste in Chinese ceramics of the early 15th century. Scrolling lotus vines are painted on the exterior of the bowl, while camellias, litchis, peaches, pomegranates, peonies, and chrysanthemums decorate the interior. The careful placement of these motifs, their calligraphic treatment, and the openness of the composition characterize the style of the early 15th century.

Related Document Description: 'An Exhibition of Blue-Decorated Porcelain of the Ming Dynasty.' Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin 44 (Autumn 1949), pp. 11, 34.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd. New York: Asia Society, 1970, pp. 61, 74.
Related Document Description: Medley, Margaret. 'Style and Symbolism in Underglaze-Decorated Chinese Porcelain.' Apollo (November 1983), pp. 404-05.
Related Document Description: Mostra d'arte cinese: Settimo centenario di Marco Polo. Venice: Palazzo Ducale, 1954, p. 171.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 76.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.169
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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