Blue-and-white porcelain jug

From Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, southern China
Ming dynasty, early 15th century AD

Tankard with a dragon-shaped handle

Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration (commonly known as 'blue-and-white' porcelain) probably appeared in China in the second quarter of the fourteenth century, during the Yuan dynasty (AD 1279-1368). The vast majority of production at that time was exported to the Islamic lands of the Near and Middle East and to other countries in Asia.

The blue-and-white wares of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries often took their shapes from Islamic metalwork. The globular body, tall cylindrical neck and dragon handle of this jug all imitate contemporary metalwork of Timurid Persia.

The crowded decoration of this jug is a feature of early blue-and-white porcelain that continued into the early part of the Ming dynasty. It is very different to the generally more subtle character of Chinese ornament. The motifs used in decorating the jug, however, are still distinctly Chinese, notably the breaking waves on the neck and floral scroll on the body.

The jug probably had a lid, which has been lost.

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More information


J. Harrison-Hall, Ming ceramics (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)

S.J. Vainker, Chinese pottery and porcelain, (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)


Height: 14.000 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1950.4-3.1


Gift of E.B. Havell


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