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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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box

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    PDF,A.687

  • Description

    Small octagonal covered porcelain box. Underglaze blue with flower head in each panel on cover, flying cranes and clouds on lower part. There is an inscription on the base.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1573-1620
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 63 millimetres
    • Diameter: 73 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        on cover
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        萬壽
      • Inscription Transliteration

        wan shou
      • Inscription Translation

        Long life
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        on base
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        大明萬曆年製
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Da Ming Wanli nianzhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made in the Ming dynasty, Wanli period
  • Curator's comments

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

    PDF A687

    Octagonal box with flying cranes


    Government kilns had access to the finest raw materials including imported cobalt. Imported cobalt is far superior to the blue pigment found locally to Jingdezhen in, for example, Leping 樂平 and Ruizhou 瑞州. After grinding for a long time, it appeared almost deep purple when fired beneath a transparent blue-tinged glaze. The form of this deep octagonal box is very unusual. Flying cranes are an emblem of long life. The characters on the cover 萬壽 (wan shou 'Ten thousand long lives') are a wish for long life.


    Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue decoration
    Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province江西省, 景德鎮
    Ming dynasty, Wanli mark and period, AD1573–1620

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Medley 1976 p.51, no.A687 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2004 p.72, no.A687 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G95/case57-3

  • Acquisition name

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    PDF,A.687

Small octagonal covered porcelain box. Underglaze blue with flower head in each panel on cover, flying cranes and clouds on lower part. Inscription on base.

Small octagonal covered porcelain box. Underglaze blue with flower head in each panel on cover, flying cranes and clouds on lower part. Inscription on base.

Copyright SOAS All rights reserved

Image description

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Object reference number: RRC39595

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