Bowl with design in reserve


Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, Xuande reign, 1426-1435
Porcelain with cobalt under colorless glaze
Jingdezhen ware
H x W: 8.7 x 18.7 cm (3 7/16 x 7 3/8 in)
China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 13: Looking Out, Looking In: Art in Late Imperial China
Ceramic, Vessel


China, flower, Jingdezhen ware, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), porcelain, WWII-era provenance, Xuande reign (1426 - 1435)
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Jean-Pierre Dubosc 1904-1988


Fifteenth-century blue-and-white porcelains are among the most memorable and influential of all Chinese ceramics. A Yuan dynasty, fourteenth-century approach to creating a design in reserve against a solid background was revived to great effect in the Xuande reign. The cobalt decoration of the period often appears blue-black, as it does here in the dark washes that alternate with paler areas, and the cobalt sometimes takes on a slightly blurred or fuzzy texture. The sensibility of many porcelain decorations in the Xuande period, including this design, bear a close affinity to textile patterns and serves as a reminder of the close links among many of the Ming arts.

The unpainted motifs-lotuses outside and seasonal flowers inside-in their snowy brilliance reveal the Xuande potters' technical accomplishment in removing virtually all impurities from the clay. The hibiscus in the well of this bowl is associated with wishes for immortality in traditional Chinese lore.

Published References
  • Ming Porcelains in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1953. p. 16, figs. 7-8.
  • Sekai toji zenshu (Catalogue of the World's Ceramics). 16 vols, Tokyo, 1955-1958. pl. 58.
  • Oriental Ceramics (Toyo Toji Taikan): The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. pl. 163.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum