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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
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China, Jiangxi Province; Ming period (1368-1644), Xuande era, 1426 - 1435
Porcelain painted with underglaze cobalt blue (Jingdezhen ware)
H. 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm); D. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The combination of flowers and fruit, painted in underglaze blue on the interior and exterior of this elegant bowl, illustrate a theme common in Xuande-era porcelains. These decorative elements are sometimes symbols of the four seasons or the twelve months and sometimes purely ornamental. Three lotuses and a chrysanthemum, a peony, and a camellia spray are painted around the interior of the bowl, while an unidentified flowering branch is at the center. Litchi, peach, pomegranate, grape, camellia, cherry, and chrysanthemum sprays decorate the exterior. The delicate sense of vitality of these fruits and flowers as well as the ease of their careful placement over the surface of the bowl, giving the design a subtle sense of movement and naturalness, characterize the decoration of porcelains during the Xuande era and help to distinguish pieces like this from earlier examples.
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