Made in China:
an imperial Ming vase
The Willis Museum, Hampshire County Council Arts and Museums Service
10 January – 4 April 2015
Supported by BP
An empire the size of Europe. An economy at the heart of global trade. A distinctive artistic style. Discover how and why this iconic blue-and-white porcelain vase represents a crucial period in China’s history.
In the early 15th century, China was the size of Europe, with a population approximately twice the size. A global superpower run by one family, the Ming dynasty’s imperial courts led taste in arts and culture, and saw the creation and consolidation of many of the cultural, social and political themes that shaped the development of China.
Imperial blue-and-white porcelain reflected a courtly interest in other cultures and connections to an international network, which stretched across Asia to Africa, the Middle East and later Europe. Porcelain was produced primarily for everyday use, trade and diplomacy, and its manufacture at this time was strictly controlled to meet the highest standards.
Ming porcelain has long been prized by collectors in Britain and around the world. At just over 50cm tall, this stunning blue-and-white vase with lotus decoration is the largest Ming imperial porcelain of its kind in the British Museum collection.
The vase will tour to four venues across the UK, each of which will highlight connections with their own collections through a specially commissioned contemporary artistic response.