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Updated: 14 April 2015
Stem porcelain cup. Underglaze blue with numerous actual and mythical animals in reserve against blue waves. Same decoration continues on stem. Central roundel with reserved conch shell on waves inside. There is an inscription on the base.
- Made in: Jingdezhen
- (Asia,China,Jiangxi (province),Jingdezhen)
- Height: 80 millimetres
- Diameter: 84 millimetres
Inscription Typereign mark
Inscription Positionon base
Inscription TransliterationDa Ming Xuande nian zhi
Published PDF date : Ming late 16th centuryRoom 95 label text:
Blue-and-white stem cup with mythical sea creatures
This blue-and-white stem cup has an apocryphal six-character underglaze blue Xuande reign mark on the base. The style of decoration outside is also in fifteenth century style. Descriptions of mythical sea creatures may be found in Shan Hai Jing [Classic of the Seas and Mountains], a book completed in the Han dynasty by Liu Xiang and his son, and revised and illustrated by Guo Pu in the Eastern Jin dynasty. This book records investigations by state officials on topics from astronomy to medicine, science to flora and fauna, medicine to archaeology. It regained popularity in the fifteenth century. A relationship between the sea-animal motifs and Tibetan Buddhism seems to have existed. It is probable that this stem cup was used at a Buddhist ceremony. Xuande period porcelains of this type are usually decorated with all nine sea creatures together, although the order of the animals varies and the spaces in between can be filled with crested waves, rocky cliffs and clouds. Later copies such as this have a selection of the creatures.
Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue decoration
Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province 江西省, 景德鎮
Ming dynasty, Wanli period, AD 1573–1620
Stem porcelain cup. Underglaze blue with numerous actual and mythical animals in reserve against blue waves. Same decoration continues on stem. Central roundel with reserved conch shell on waves inside. Inscription on base.
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Object reference number: RRC39578
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