Fahua vase

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

Decorated with meiping (prunus blossom)

The term fahua refers to Chinese wares with bold decoration in deep blue, turquoise, purple, green, yellow, and white alkaline glazes. The motifs are usually outlined by raised trails of white slip. Because of this technique, fahua wares are regarded as the ceramic versions of cloisonné, where the design elements are separated by copper wires.

Fahua wares were produced from the fourteenth century, both in Shanxi province, northern China, and in southern China, probably at Jingdezhen, site of the imperial kilns. The high-fired porcelain body and palette employed are typical of those fahua wares made in southern China.

Fahua pieces are generally thickly potted. The decorative technique was used to ornament a widre range of vessel types including garden seats, wine jars and vases. The main decoration of this vase is lotus flowers and insects above waves. The jewels and beading on the shoulder are a feature which appeared in the latter part of the fifteenth century, and is often found on textiles of the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Whether it originated with ceramics or with textiles is not known.

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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: 41.500 cm

Museum number

Asia OA F.67


Gift of Sir A.W. Franks


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