meiping / vase
Meiping with incised decoration and qingbai glaze. This elegant meiping has a short neck with a thickened rim, sloping shoulders and tapering sides which flare out towards the base. It is joined together in three sections and is incised in the main register with an open-jawed three-clawed dragon, among combed waves. Two individual lotus flowers with foliage are incised above. Below are incised lappets. Outside, at the neck and inside the foot ring it is coated with a qingbai glaze. A few small lumps of grit have adhered to the meiping during firing.
- 1280-1368 (circa)
- Made in: Jingdezhen
- (Asia,China,Jiangxi (province),Jingdezhen)
- Found/Acquired: China
- Height: 27 centimetres
Chinese dragons have had a consistent appearance since antiquity. Nine different types of dragon are recorded as early as the Song dynasty (960-1279). Dragons have the head of a camel, the horns of a deer, the ears of a cow, the neck of a snake, the abdomen of a clam, the scales of a fish, the claws of an eagle, the eyes of a devil and the paws of a tiger. In addition they generally have whiskers and a mane. Unlike in the West, where dragons are associated with evil, in China they are an auspicious emblem associated with, for example, imperial rule and even the control of the weather.
A number of analogous vessels have been recovered from archaeological contexts dating to the early 1320s. These indicate that such vessels were made for the home market as well as for sale abroad. Meiping of the same form and decoration "were recovered from the Sinan shipwreck of 1323. A pair of identical meiping with overhanging covers topped with lion finials was excavated in 1972 from a tomb in Wannian county Jiangxi province, dated 元泰定元年 yuan Taiding yuan nian (the first year of Taiding of the Yuan dynasty, AD 1324); slightly larger than the British Museum example (height 32.8 cm), these are now in the Jiangxi Provincial Museum.
Other similar Qingbai meiping include a slightly larger example measuring 32 cm in height at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; others of the same size as the British Museum piece are in the Kempe Collection; the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo; the Burrell Collection, Glasgow; and one on anonymous loan to the Los Angeles County Museum.
20/09/07-22/10/07 BM, G3, 'The Korean Moon Jar'
Porcelain meiping with incised decoration and qingbai glaze; the main register incised with an open-jawed three-clawed dragon, among combed waves; two individual lotus flowers with foliage incised above and below with incised lappets; with a few small lumps of grit adhered to the meiping.
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Object reference number: RRC15408
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