Zhangzhou ware dish with design of deer in a landscape

Dish, deep with foliate rim (16 units), low foot slanted inward. Coarse grit encrusts foot rim and is scattered on small areas of base and lower body.

Clay: white porcelain, resonant.

Glaze: clear, feldspathic, very fine bubbles, all-over application, rather thick and uneven, giving a “lardy” appearance typical of “Swatow” ware. In this case, the appearance is more refined, the unevenness and wavy surface less marked than is characteristic of the “Swatow” type of export wares. Small amount of wear abrasion.

Decoration: well-painted in underglaze cobalt blue of good quality in outline and wash. Inside, encircled by a double line, a central landscape scene with two deer lying under a pine tree, and with rocks, plant forms and clouds in typical 16th century conventionization filling the area. Four flower sprays (unidentified) are widely spaced in the surrounding band. Above a double line is a border of ten compartments, each containing a formal blossom, framed by foliate scrolls. A top line defines rim foliation. Areas of concentration of cobalt occur in framing lines, which show poor control of the flow of the pigment, at the ends of detail lines and in deliberate dotting of the deer forms. The latter is said to reproduce “heaped and piled” effect of earlier blue and white wares. The surface, characteristically, is pitted or depressed over these areas. Some smearing of the blue has occurred in a few places, apparently from handling before glazing. Outside, the painting is careless. One of the double lines near base is unfinished. Near rim, widely spaced and alternating are two simple flowers, two beribboned lozenges (one of the Pa-pao symbols) and three circular flourishes. A line defines the rim foliation.

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Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, late 16th-early 17th century
Medium
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under clear, colorless glaze
Style
Zhangzhou ware
Dimensions
H x W: 9.8 x 39.7 cm (3 7/8 x 15 5/8 in)
Geography
China, Fujian province, Zhangzhou kilns
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
F1976.13
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Dish

Keywords
China, cobalt pigment, deer, flower, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), pine tree, plant, porcelain, Swatow ware, tree, Zhangzhou ware
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

Dish, deep with foliate rim (16 units), low foot slanted inward. Coarse grit encrusts foot rim and is scattered on small areas of base and lower body.

Clay: white porcelain, resonant.

Glaze: clear, feldspathic, very fine bubbles, all-over application, rather thick and uneven, giving a "lardy" appearance typical of "Swatow" ware. In this case, the appearance is more refined, the unevenness and wavy surface less marked than is characteristic of the "Swatow" type of export wares. Small amount of wear abrasion.

Decoration: well-painted in underglaze cobalt blue of good quality in outline and wash. Inside, encircled by a double line, a central landscape scene with two deer lying under a pine tree, and with rocks, plant forms and clouds in typical 16th century conventionization filling the area. Four flower sprays (unidentified) are widely spaced in the surrounding band. Above a double line is a border of ten compartments, each containing a formal blossom, framed by foliate scrolls. A top line defines rim foliation. Areas of concentration of cobalt occur in framing lines, which show poor control of the flow of the pigment, at the ends of detail lines and in deliberate dotting of the deer forms. The latter is said to reproduce "heaped and piled" effect of earlier blue and white wares. The surface, characteristically, is pitted or depressed over these areas. Some smearing of the blue has occurred in a few places, apparently from handling before glazing. Outside, the painting is careless. One of the double lines near base is unfinished. Near rim, widely spaced and alternating are two simple flowers, two beribboned lozenges (one of the Pa-pao symbols) and three circular flourishes. A line defines the rim foliation.

Published References
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 26, p. 36.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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