Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, Chenghua reign, 1465-1487
Porcelain with cobalt under colorless glaze
Jingdezhen ware
H x W: 4.3 x 20.1 cm (1 11/16 x 7 15/16 in)
China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


Chenghua reign (1465 - 1487), China, Jingdezhen ware, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), porcelain, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Edward T. Chow 1910 - 1980
Mathias Komor 1909 - 1984


To some connoisseurs, the Chenghua reign (1465-87) marks the ultimate stage in the development of Chinese blue-and-white, in which technical perfection is matched by great refinement in taste. The best Chenghua examples are remarkable for their delicacy, luminosity, and sensitive drawing. A six-character mark confirms the Chenghua date on this dish.

The interior is painted with a motif known as the "three friends of winter" (pine, plum, and bamboo) and also a garden rock and fungus of immortality appear. The design is both a wish for longevity and also carries poetic and scholarly connotations. The exterior is decorated with women in a garden setting with two constellations pictured overhead. These are the Herdboy (Aquila) and Weaving Maiden (Vega) stars that cross the Milky Way and meet on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, the Double Seventh Festival in China. In antiquity, this was a major celebration for lovers. Women made special displays of brocade, prepared vegetarian feasts, and burned incense while they prayed for divine instructions, especially for improvement of needlework.

This dish can be compared to another in the collection, F1951.11.

Published References
  • Ming Porcelains in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1953. p. 23, fig. 17.
  • Maggie Bickford. Bones of Jade, Soul of Ice: The Flowering Plum in Chinese Art. Exh. cat. New Yaven, CT. p. 212.
  • Ann Frank. Chinese Blue and White. New York. p. 33.
  • Hai wai i chen (Chinese Art in Overseas Collections). Taipei, 1985. vol. 3, p. 25.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

Related Objects