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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
Han Dynasty Bronzes
Early Chinese Ceramics
Sculpture from Tombs
Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
Tang and Liao Dynasty Metalwork
Ceramics of the Song and Jin Periods
Porcelains of the Yuan and Early Ming Periods
Imperial Chinese Ceramics of the 15th Century
Ceramics of the Late Ming Period
Qing Dynasty Porcelain
Landscape Painting in China
Jade and Lacquer in China
China, Jiangxi Province; Ming period (1368-1644), Xuande era, 1426 - 1435
Porcelain painted with underglaze cobalt blue (Jingdezhen ware)
H. 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm); D. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The designs on this Xuande-era dish, consisting of a single, large floral spray in the center of the interior and four different floral sprays along the interior rim, are painted in underglaze cobalt blue. Crepe myrtle is painted in the center, and a lotus, pomegranate, apple, and cherry decorate the rim. The array of fruits and flowers from different seasons of the year may be understood as allusions to the passing of time, although many of these motifs also have symbolic associations. The pomegranate, for example, often symbolized the desire for children, while the Chinese word for apple (ping) is a homonym for that for peace. The combination of these auspicious motifs and their constant reuse has led to the suggestion that dishes with such decoration were intended to be used by women. Commissioned throughout the Ming dynasty, dishes decorated with this type of motif were made in several color schemes, including blue and white, yellow and white, and more rarely, brown and white. If they were indeed made for women, it is possible that the variety in color schemes and decoration may have reflected the different statuses of the many women at the Chinese court. The six-character Xuande reign mark is on the base.
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