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brush / brush-lid

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Porcelain brush handle and cap. There are boys playing with butterflies in a garden in Wucai style with underglaze blue and overglaze enamel on the brush. There is a mark in underglaze blue on the shaft.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1573-1620
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 191 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        reign mark
      • Inscription Position

        on the shaft
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Da Ming Chenghua nian zhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made in the Ming dynasty, Chenghua reign
      • Inscription Comment

        Six-character Chenghua mark incised and enclosed in a blue rectangle at one end of the shaft
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Ming Wanli 1573-1620Room 95 label text:

    PDF 753

    Brush with cap painted with boys playing

    Potters decorated this brush and cap in a twice-fired technique called 五彩 (wucai ‘five colours’) composed of underglaze blue and overglaze red, yellow, and green. Chinese people regard genre scenes of children playing as auspicious, representing a wish for many sons. There is an apocryphal Chenghua mark on the shaft in underglaze blue.

    Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue and overglaze wucai enamels
    Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province江西省, 景德鎮
    Ming dynasty, Wanli period, AD 1573–1620


  • Bibliography

    • Hobson 1934 p. 130, pl. CXXIX(d) bibliographic details
    • Scott & Kerr 1994 p.22, no.23 bibliographic details
    • Medley 1978 p.37, no.107, pl. X bibliographic details
    • Feng 2006a pp 106-107, no. 44 bibliographic details
    • Feng 2006 pp 33-34, no.753 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    12 January 2009

    Treatment proposal

    Stick brush end back.


    The brush end has detached from the brush handle. It seems that the brush had been tried to be repaired with blue tack. The brush end also has residues of animal glue underneath the blue tack, probably original material from when the brush was first made.

    Treatment details

    The blue tack was mechanically removed from the brush end and from the inside of the handle. The old glue was removed from the brush and the inside of the handle with warm water applied with cotton swabs. The end of the brush was attached to a small piece of Plastazote (polyethylene) with HMG Paraloid B72 (methyl ethyl methacrlylate), then the brush was inserted inside the brush handle and adhered with HMG Paraloid B72. The brush handle and the lid were 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.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    PDF card: Acquired before 1934

  • Department


  • Registration number


Porcelain brush handle and cap, in wucai style with underglaze blue and overglaze enamels. Boys playing with butterflies in a garden. Mark on shaft in underglaze blue.

Porcelain brush handle and cap, in wucai style with underglaze blue and overglaze enamels. Boys playing with butterflies in a garden. Mark on shaft in underglaze blue.

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Image description



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Object reference number: RRC39085

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