Large meiping vase with incised decoration beneath a transparent glaze. Elegant yet heavily potted, this tall meiping has broad shoulders and tapers to the foot. It has a narrow neck and dish mouth. Two dragons prancing on all fours, chasing their flaming pearls among 'ruyi' clouds, are incised in the main register. A narrow band of simple five-petalled flower heads and a wide band of lappets are incised below and above is a band of lotus flowers in 'ruyi'-shaped cartouches with beaded gadroons in between. Incised in a circle around the neck is a six-character Jiajing reign mark. The meiping is covered with a transparent glaze. The base is glazed and recessed within the foot ring.
- Made in: Jingdezhen
- (Asia,China,Jiangxi (province),Jingdezhen)
- Found/Acquired: China
- Height: 41.5 centimetres
Inscription Positionaround the neck
Inscription TransliterationDa Ming Jiajing Nian Zhi
Inscription TranslationMade in the Jiajing reign of the Ming dynasty
Inscription CommentSix-character Jiajing reign mark.
Originally this meiping would probably have had a cover with waisted sides and a lotus-bud finial which fitted over the neck. A slightly larger (height 45.8 cm) white porcelain meiping with an intact cover is in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, incised with phoenix in place of dragons but otherwise with identical decoration. Meiping of this type may have been made in complementary phoenix and dragon pairs for palace use. Another white Jiajing meiping with incised dragons is in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
By the Jiajing period, the ceremonial use of monochrome vessels was well established. Some high-quality white wares, made at Jingdezhen with the imperial reign mark, were associated with ritual practices such as sacrifices to royal ancestors. We know from Chinese regulations for the performance of state ceremonies during the Jiajing reign that white porcelain wine cups, for example, were displayed for ritual purposes in front of the divine tablet of the God of the Moon at the "xiyuetan" [Altar of the Moon]. This altar was a square platform with a glazed white surface symbolizing the moon with six steps on each of its four sides, built in 1530, in the western suburbs of Beijing but now completely destroyed.
20 March 1997
Reason for treatment
Cleaned using a solution of Ariel automatic (anionic and non ionic synthetic surfactants,sodium tripolyphosphate) in distilled water, using cotton wool swabs on satay sticks. After cleaning the surface is rinsed with distilled water applied on cotton wool swabs or Kleenex tissue. Surface wiped wth a dry tissue to remove any remaining distilled water.
Large meiping vase with incised decoration beneath a transparent glaze. Two dragons chasing flaming pearls among ruyi clouds are incised in the main register, with bands of flower heads and lappets below and lotus flowers above. Around the neck is incised a six-character Jiajing reign mark.
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Object reference number: RRC11901
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