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Dish

  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1573-1582 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in underglaze cobalt blue

  • Credit Line:

    Given from the Bloxam collection

  • Museum number:

    C.103-1928

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 5, shelf 6

Physical description

Dish painted in underglaze blue, the inside, in the centre with Shoulao (God of Longevity) seated on a rock under pine tree, holding a lingzhi spray, accompanied by a crane and a deer. On the outside are painted the Eight Immortals in a landscape. On the base is the mark arranged in two vertical lines within a double circle: Wanli nian zhi Chunzhong Tang yong (made in the Wanli period for use in the Hall of Pure Loyalty).

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)

Date

ca. 1573-1582 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in underglaze cobalt blue

Marks and inscriptions

On the base is the mark arranged in two Written in vertical lines within a double circle: 'Wanli nian zhi Chunzhong Tang yong'
Made in the Wanli period for use in the Hall of Pure Loyalty
The mark is unlike those casually written marks from the Wanli period. Instead it is neatly arranged within a double circle, in a manner more commonly found on imperial ware. This is because the dishes were ordered by the high official Zhang Juzheng (1525-1582), alias Shuda, style name Taiyue, native of Jiangling. At the peak of his political career Zhang was Grand Secretary, in which post he stayed for ten years. The Wanli Emperor 'treated him as if he were his own teacher' and bestowed on him innumerable gifts and titles, including the hall name Chunzhong Tang.

Zhang died at the age of 58, and before long the Wanli Emperor ordered the revocation of all Zhang's titles and the confiscation of the family's wealth. Zhang's eldest son, then an official in the Ministry of Rites, was tortured into confessing embezzlement and hanged himself afterwards. What happened to Zhang clearly demonstrates the whims of emperors and the ephemeral nature of imperial favour during the later years of the Ming dynasty.

Dimensions

Height: 3.8 cm, Diameter: 17.6 cm

Descriptive line

Cer, China, Ming, blue and white

Materials

Porcelain; Cobalt oxide

Techniques

Painted; Underglazed

Subjects depicted

Fungus; Pine tree; Rocks; Cranes; Deer

Categories

Ceramics

Collection

East Asia Collection

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