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stem cup

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    PDF,C.601

  • Description

    Porcelain stem cup. Underglaze blue with various animals and flying beasts on dense pencilled wave background covering both porcelain cup and stem. Inscription in central roundel inside. Base unglazed.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1573-1620
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 87 millimetres
    • Diameter: 100 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        reign mark
      • Inscription Position

        on base
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        大明宣德年製
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Da ming xuande nian zhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made during the Xuande reign of the Great Ming dynasty
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Ming late 16th centuryRoom 95 label text:

    PDF C601

    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 inside in the centre. 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

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Pierson 2001 p. 61, no. 57 bibliographic details
    • Medley 1976 p.73, C601 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2004 p.99, no.C601 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G95/case23/sh2

  • Acquisition name

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    PDF,C.601

Stem porcelain cup. Underglaze blue with various animals and flying beasts on dense pencilled wave background covering both porcelain cup and stem. Inscription in central roundel inside. Base unglazed.

Stem porcelain cup. Underglaze blue with various animals and flying beasts on dense pencilled wave background covering both porcelain cup and stem. Inscription in central roundel inside. Base unglazed.

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Object reference number: RRC40002

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