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  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)

  • Date:

    1550-1580 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in cobalt blue

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case WN10

This thickly potted jar was probably made for storing wine or food. It is made of white porcelain and is painted with underglaze cobalt blue. The design is arranged in panels enclosing flowers on the shoulders and on the sides are larger panels depicting growing trees and plants in flowerpots, their stems drawn in the form of the Chinese characters 'fu' and 'shou'.It was made in the second half of the 16th century, clearly to be enjoyed by the local market who were able to read the Chinese characters. However, the jar was acquired in the later 19th century in Iran, presumably having been exported when new, similar jars were in the Ardebil shrine, dated 1611. Jars of this size were very difficult to produce, often collapsing during firing: perfect examples like this one were therefore highly valued.

Physical description

Jar, the mouth and shoulder octagonal, painted with trees and flowers in panels, their stems in the form of 'fu' and 'shou' characters

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)


1550-1580 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in cobalt blue


Diameter: 34.0 cm, Height: 38.7 cm

Object history note

From the RICHARD collection, Iran

Descriptive line

Cer, China, Ming, blue and white

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

Chinese Storage Jar
China, probably Jingdezhen

By 1350, Chinese blue-and-white porcelain was being made specifically for the Middle Eastern market. After 1500, the trade in such pottery was dominated by the Portuguese. A Portuguese ship probably took this jar to Iran, where it was purchased by the V&A in 1876.

Porcelain painted under the glaze

Museum no. 1718-1876 [2009]

Production Note



China in Persia; Ceramics


East Asia Collection

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