Collection online

cover / bowl

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Porcelain bowl with domed cover. There are two five-clawed dragons among clouds in underglaze cobalt blue on the sides and on the lid. There are marks inside the lid and the bowl.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1426-1435
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 103 millimetres
    • Diameter: 175 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        reign mark
      • Inscription Position

        inside the lid and the bowl
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Da Ming Xuande nian zhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made in the Ming dynasty, Xuande reign
      • Inscription Comment

        Six character Xuande mark in a double circle in underglaze blue inside the lid and the bowl
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Ming XuandeRoom 95 label text:

    PDF 684

    Box-bowl and cover

    The shape of this bowl with its angular profile and slightly domed cover was invented in the Xuande era and is called a 盒碗 (hewan ‘box bowl’). Porcelain decorators painted it with a dragon on both sides chasing a flaming pearl among clouds using underglaze cobalt-blue. The bowl is marked inside with a six-character Xuande reign mark in a double ring which is repeated inside the cover.

    Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue
    Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province江西省, 景德鎮
    Ming dynasty, Xuande marks and period, AD1426–35


  • Bibliography

    • Medley 1975 Monochrome pl. 85 bibliographic details
    • Medley 1976 p.31, no.684 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2004 p.49, no.684 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2004A pp 50-51, no.17 bibliographic details
    • Krahl & Harrison-Hall 2009 pp 64-65, no.30 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G95/dc59/s3

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    4 February 2009

    Reason for treatment

    Permanent Exhibition

    Treatment proposal

    Try to clean crack


    Old restorations on base, stained yellow/brown. Staining on base from old adhesive. Chip on base. Surface dirt. Waxy substance around rim, possibly the lid was stuck onto the bowl. Inside the base of the bowl is worn and scratched. The lid has a waxy substance around the rim and surface dirt.

    Treatment details

    Dismantled base on bowl using Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone) on cotton wool and covered with cling film. Removed cotton wool and picked excess adhesive out with a scalpel. Steam cleaned the base of the bowl with de-ionised water. The joins came apart easily, 3 in total. The base rim had been previously bonded with a waxy substance. Steam cleaned all edges to be joined and to remove staining from break edges. Applied Laponite RD (sodium magnesium lithium silicate) onto wet Japanese tissue paper over the stained break edges to try and draw the stain out, covered with cling film. Removed before fully drying and steam cleaned the break edges. Applied Laponite 3 times, steam cleaning in between each application. The Laponite removed some staining, but not all. Applied Ariel automatic (anionic and non ionic synthetic surfactants, sodium tripolyphosphate) dissolved in warm water and applied onto cotton wool swabs on the break edges. Covered with cling film, removed after a day and steam cleaned the break edges. Reapplied application twice. Allowed to dry fully for two weeks under a cover to prevent dirt and dust contaminating the clean break edges. Bonded joins with fresh Fynebond epoxy resin coloured slightly with titanium white dry ground pigment. Gap filled with Fynebond which was bulked heavily with Aerosil 805 fumed silica and coloured with artists' dry ground pigments. Resin was applied with a metal spatula, allowed to cure fully for 2 days, then softened with Acetone on a cotton wool swabs and shaved back to the correct size. Resin was allowed to cure for a further 2 days before being polished with Micromesh fine abrasive cloth (silicon carbide/aluminium oxide) grades 1500, 1800, 2400, 3200, 3600, 4000, 6000, 8000 and 12000. Object was further cleaned with a 50:50 solution of de-ionised water and Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol, methanol) applied on a cotton wool swab and dried with a paper towel. Retouched gap fill with Golden acrylic paints. Numbered both the bowl and the lid with Rotring black Indian ink sealing surface first with 20% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer)in Acetone.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Department


  • Registration number


Porcelain bowl with domed cover, decorated in underglaze cobalt blue. Two five-clawed dragons among clouds on the sides and also on lid. Marks inside lid and bowl.

Porcelain bowl with domed cover, decorated in underglaze cobalt blue. Two five-clawed dragons among clouds on the sides and also on lid. Marks inside lid and bowl.

Image description



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Object reference number: RRC39018

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