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stem cup

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Porcelain stem cup. The stem cup has a white body and white glaze. There is a dragon in anhua slip on the interior. There is a mark on the interior.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1403-1424
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 102 millimetres
    • Diameter: 153 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        inside in the well
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Yongle nianzhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made in the Yongle period ( AD 1403- 24)
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Ming Yongle 1403-1424Room 95 label text:

    PDF A481

    Stembowl with hidden decoration and tianbai glaze

    The Yongle emperor introduced a four-character reign mark to porcelain, reflecting the close imperial supervision of production at Jingdezhen. Unusually here the mark is incised in the inner wall. The seal script characters 永樂年製 (Yongle nianzhi 'made in the Yongle reign') are framed by a double circle. Technically accomplished potters also made an 暗花 (anhua 'hidden or secret') design of a five-clawed dragon reaching for the reign mark around the inner wall. Chinese archaeologists have shown these delicately potted bodiless stembowls were part of a large order, fired between AD1403 and 1412.

    Porcelain with incised and anhua decoration and transparent tianbai glaze
    Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province江西省, 景德鎮
    Ming dynasty, Yongle mark and period, AD 1403–12


  • Location


  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    2 February 2009

    Treatment proposal

    Clean crack


    Light surface dirt. Stained running crack on rim, approximately 2 inches long.

    Treatment details

    Steam cleaned running crack with de-ionised water. Applied Laponite RD (sodium magnesium lithium silicate) onto wet Japanese tissue paper over the stained running crack and covered with cling film to slow down the evaporation rate. Removed before fully drying and steam cleaned the crack. Applied Laponite twice, 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 crack. Covered with cling film, removed after a day and steam cleaned the crack. 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. Numbered the base with Rotring black Indian ink sealing surface first with 20% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone).

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    PDF card: Elphinstone Gift

  • Department


  • Registration number


White porcelain stem cup. Covered with white glaze. Inside decorated with slip anhua design of dragon. Mark inside.

White porcelain stem cup. Covered with white glaze. Inside decorated with slip anhua design of dragon. Mark inside.

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Image description



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Object reference number: RRC39381

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