Height: 5.500 cm
Bequeathed by Mrs Walter Sedgwick
Asia OA 1968.4-22.30
Room 33: Asia
Porcelain bowl with Xiwangmu
From Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, southern
Ming dynasty, Yongle period (AD 1401-24)
A Daoist goddess
Xiwangmu, the Queen Mother of the West, is an important figure in Daoism. She lived in the Kunlun Mountains, in an enchanted palace with beautiful pagodas and a magical garden. Among her plants was the famous tree with peaches of longevity. Though they ripen only once in 3000 years, they bestow immortality. A kind of jade plant also grew there, which also conferred everlasting life.
The scene on this bowl shows Xiwangmu as she is usually portrayed in paintings, a beautiful woman in her garden, with her two maids, one holding a large fan, the other with a basket of magic peaches. Xiwangmu is often shown riding on a crane and sometimes with doves, her messengers.
J. Harrison-Hall, Ming ceramics (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)
S.J. Vainker, Chinese pottery and porcelain, (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)