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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
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China, Jiangxi Province; Ming period (1368-1644), early 15th century (probably Yongle era, 1403 - 1424)
Porcelain with impressed and incised design under glaze (Jingdezhen ware)
H. 4 in. (10.2 cm); D. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The decoration of two dragons among three clouds incised under the glaze in the interior of this thin dish is very difficult to see. This type of decoration is often termed anhua or "hidden decoration" and was very popular in the early Ming period, at least in part because of the Yongle emperor's (reigned 1403 - 1424) taste for plain white wares. Dishes of this type, noticeably thinner than the majority of porcelains produced during the reign of the Ming emperor Yongle, are known as eggshell porcelain. A few examples of these porcelains with impressed decoration have the Yongle reign mark in archaic characters incorporated in their designs; the attribution of these very thin dishes to the Yongle period is based on this mark.
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