Chinese / Jar / Ming period, late 15th century (probably Hongzhi era, 1488-1505)Chinese
Ming period, late 15th century (probably Hongzhi era, 1488-1505)

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Jar
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1488
Creation End Date: 1505
Creation Date: Ming period, late 15th century (probably Hongzhi era, 1488-1505)
Creation Place: China, Shanxi or Henan Province
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Stoneware with trailed slip under glaze and overglaze enamels (Jingdezhen ware)
Dimensions: H. 13 7/8 in. (35.2 cm); D. 11 7/8 in. (30.2 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.178
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection

A change from delicate shapes and elegant designs to larger, bolder forms and new decorative motifs distinguishes Chinese ceramics produced from the late 15th through mid-17th century. This change reflects both the weakening of imperial control and the development of new domestic and foreign markets in response to the loss of imperial patronage, circumstances that would also spur the production of ceramics at other kilns besides the famous imperial complex at Jingdezhen. For example, fahua stonewares, which were produced from the 14th century onward at kilns mostly in Shanxi Province, became popular in the late Ming period (1368-1644); they were even imitated at Jingdezhen.

The liveliness and sense of movement seen in the decoration of a phoenixand scrolling lotus flowers on this fahua jar, which can be dated to the late 15th century, typifies the decoration that would become popular at Jingdezhen in the next century. Loosely translated as 'ruled' or 'bound design,' the term fahuais often understood as a reference to the technique used in making these wares in which the primary motifs were first outlined with slip and then filled in with overglaze enamels. Two firings--one for the body, slip, and glaze and another lower-temperature firing for the enamels--were required. The bright green glaze in the interior of this jar was added during the second firing.

However, it is also possible that fahua refers to the term falang, the Chinese word for the cloisonné technique that inspired this type of ceramic decoration. The character fa is often used in Chinese to transliterate foreign terms, and it has been suggested that the cloisonné technique was imported to China from an area to the west.

Produced for domestic, nonimperial consumption, fahua wares were used primarily as sculptures and altar vessels in temples and funerary complexes. The phoenix, which in the early part of the Ming dynasty was often used to represent the empress, was also a symbol of rebirth in Buddhism, and it seems likely that this jar was once part of a set of altar vessels in a Buddhist temple.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 79.
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. 70, 76.
Related Document Description: Rockefeller, John D., Jr., ed. The John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Collection of Chinese Porcelains. New York: Privately printed, n.d.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 134, 135.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 86, 138.
Related Document Description: Wardwell, Allen. 'John D. Rockefeller 3rd and Asian Art.' Apollo (November 1983), pp. 367-68.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.178
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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