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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.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Made in China:
an imperial Ming vase

Currently at Weston Park Museum, Museums Sheffield
12 July – 5 October 2014


Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
11 October 2014 – 4 January 2015

The Willis Museum, Hampshire County Council Arts and Museums Service
10 January – 4 April 2015

Supported by BP

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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.

Related blog posts

The making and meaning of Ming: 50 years that changed China 

Made in China: an imperial Ming vase 

Ming: courts and contacts 1400–1450

Thursday 9 October, 14.00–17.00
Friday 10 October, 10.00–17.00
Saturday 11 October, 10.00–17.00

This conference will look at the roles of imperial and princely courts in China at this time and how China interacted with the wider world.

Over 30 international scholars will explore a wide range of topics, including art and material culture, the military and government, maritime trade and diplomacy, and beliefs and cross-cultural exchanges.

The conference is held in conjunction with the BP exhibition Ming: 50 years that changed China. Research and conference supported by BP, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Sir Percival David Foundation and the James P Geiss Foundation.

Recommend this exhibition

Ming flask

Large porcelain flask painted with underglaze blue decoration. Made in Jingdezhen, China. Ming dynasty, Xuande mark and period, 1426–1435. © The Trustees of the British Museum.