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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 with incised design in reserve against cobalt blue ground under glaze (Jingdezhen ware)
H. 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm); D. 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The design on this dish is made up of a spray of camellias encircled by peaches, pomegranates, crab apple, and litchi. Although the flowers and fruits on this dish were chosen primarily for their decorative possibilities, many of these motifs have symbolic associations. For example, the pomegranate often symbolized the desire for children, the peach represents immortality, and the Chinese word for apple (ping), is a homonym 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 side of the dish. The technique used in decorating this dish consists of incising a design into the porcelain body, painting the surrounding areas with blue pigment, and then covering the entire piece with a transparent glaze.
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