Cizhou-type meiping painted in iron black on a cream slip under a turquoise glaze. This stoneware Cizhou-type meiping has a narrow neck, sloping shoulders and a high flaring foot. Its unglazed foot and base reveal a pale brick-red body clay. Its neck is a replacement, made from a paler refined clay with a smoother turquoise glaze. Outside it is painted in black beneath a turquoise glaze with two immortals playing 'wei qi' [surround chess], observed by a third man enclosed in a cloud-like frame. All three wear long full robes, crossed over at the neck and tied with sashes at the front, two wear hats with folded crowns and the third a small bun cover. On the left the cleanshaven immortal pushes forward a round counter along a grid-marked board which rests on a square table. His opponent with moustache and beard points to another counter. On the other side the same three figures are engaged in listening to and playing the 'qin', attended by a man, dressed in a short robe and boots, carrying logs. One immortal plays the stringed instrument at a long bench while another stands behind the bench and the third sits on a textile-covered stool to the left side. There is bamboo below both scenes and between each a pine tree. Around the foot is a band of feathery lappets with bold edges; there is a delicate floral scroll around the shoulder and a variant of the classic scroll around the base of the neck.
- 1435-1488 (circa)
- Made in: China (North)
- Found/Acquired: China
- Height: 290 millimetres
- Diameter: 150 millimetres
The designs illustrate the story of Wang Zhi (see BM 1937.0716.94) and two major pastimes of the literate class. 'Wei qi' is played on a board with a greater number of squares (18X18 = 324) than conventional chess and the pieces are placed on the intersection of lines rather than in the empty squares. Playing the 'qin' took years of tenacious practice. In 1613 Lin Yulin wrote in the introduction to his book on the 'qin': "Always when I sit confronting the many hued rocks and mountains and play a tune on my antique lute while the moon shines through the spreading pines, I feel greatly elated and my thoughts are borne away to unearthly regions....". During the Ming period, large-scale handbooks were written for this instrument, explaining hand gestures tor playing, its history and significance.
2009 24 Jan-19 Apr, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, 'China: Journey to the East'
2009 2 May-19 Jul, Coventry, The Herbert, 'China: Journey to the East'
2009 1 Aug-1 Dec, Basingstoke, The Willis Museum, 'China: Journey to the East'
2010 29 Jan-9 May, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear Museums, 'China: Journey to the East'
2010 22 May-15 Aug, York, Yorkshire Museums Trust, 'China: Journey to the East'
2010-2011 25 Sep-26 Jun, Manchester Museum, 'China: Journey to the East'
2011-2012 Dec-Apr, Sheffield Museums, 'China: Journey to the East'
Bought with the help of public subscription.
A stoneware Cizhou-type meiping with a narrow neck, sloping shoulders and a high flaring foot. The unglazed foot and base reveal a pale brick-red body clay. The neck is a replacement, made from a paler refined clay with a smoother turquoise glaze. Painted outside in black beneath a turquoise glaze with the designs illustrating the story of Wang Zhi, with two immortals playing wei qi [surround chess], observed by a third man enclosed in a clud-like frame. All wearing long full robes tied with sashes at the front, two wear hats with folded crowns and the third a small bun cover. On the other side the same figures are engaged in listening to and playing the qin, attended by a man. One immortal plays the stringed instrument at a long bench, another stands behind, and the third sits on a stool. There is bamboo below both scenes and between each pine tree. Around the foot is a band of feahery lappets with bold edges, and a delicate floral scroll around the shoulder and a variant of the classic scroll around the base of the neck.
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Object reference number: RRC9678
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