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Updated: 14 April 2015
Oval writing box and cover. Underglaze blue with dense lattice pattern inset with ogival panels containing scrolling flowers. 'Three Friends of Winter', pine, prunus and bamboo, on inside of lid. Inside contains separate areas for porcelain ink, pens and porcelain water, with scrolling flower design. Base unglazed.
- Made in: Jingdezhen
- (Asia,China,Jiangxi (province),Jingdezhen)
- Height: 72 millimetres
- Width: 320 millimetres
- Depth: 78 millimetres
Published PDF date : Ming XuandeRoom 95 label text:
Writing box in a Middle Eastern metal shape
This writing box has three separate compartments inside possibly for pens, water or ink and a well for storing blotting threads. The inside of the cover is painted with the ‘Three Friends of Winter’. A box of the same shape but with a different design was excavated from the Yongle strata at the imperial kiln site at Jingdezhen in 1984. The Yongle emperor sponsored trade and exploratory missions abroad. Admiral Zheng He鄭和 (AD 1371–1433) began his voyages to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa under the Yongle emperor’s patronage. At court a fashion for ‘exotic’ Middle Eastern are inspired object forms and decorative motifs prevailed. The shape of this writing box as well as its dense decoration is inspired by earlier inlaid metalwork from the Middle East, as evidenced by brass writing boxes, some inlaid with silver, that were made, for example, in Egypt or Syria.
Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue decoration
Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province 江西省, 景德鎮
Ming dynasty, Yongle period, AD 1403–24
2014 Sep-2015 Jan, BM WCEC, 'Ming: 50 years that changed China'
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Object reference number: RRC39534
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