Diameter: 19.800 cm
Gift of Spink & Son
Asia OA 1985.10-12.1
Room 33: Asia
Qing dynasty, 18th century AD
A Chinese dish in the Mughal style
Jade has always been highly prized in China, for its rarity, durability and natural beauty. As early as the Neolithic period (around 4000 BC), jade was thought to have special powers, possibly protective ones. Over time, the idea developed of covering specific parts of the body with jade, to prevent decomposition and to keep it whole for the afterlife. Various customs and legends involving jade endured throughout Chinese dynastic history.
By the time of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), jade was being used increasingly for secular, decorative purposes. In the eighteenth century, when new sources of jade became accessible, many vessels, garment plaques and ornamental carvings were made.
This dish was made in the Indian style of the Mughal dynasty (1526-1827), which was fashionable in the eighteenth century. Mughal carvings were often in organic shapes, a common feature with the decorative arts of China. This dish is in the shape of a chrysanthemum. Its naturalism is enhanced by perfectly precise detail.
J. Rawson, Chinese jade: from the Neolith (London, The British Museum Press, 1995, reprinted 2002)
J. Rawson (ed.), The British Museum book of Chi (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)