Description This white porcelain bottle shaped vase is painted in underglaze cobalt blue. The round body is decorated with rockery, grass, and branches of peony flowers where pheasants perch. Pheasants were appreciated for their beautiful long tail feathers, which were worn in the helmets of generals to assert their rank. Flying birds are painted on the straight neck, which is interrupted midway by a raised ring in the porcelain. Outline and wash application of paint creates shadowing and dimensionality to the subject matter. The year 1683 during the Kangxi reign (1662-1722) marks the return of the Imperial production of porcelain and the reinstitution of the Imperial kilns at Jingdezhen. A revival of imperial blue and white porcelain resulted in superbly crafted porcelains with well combined body, glaze, cobalt painting, and skillful decoration. Refined blue cobalt allowed for adventurous and varied painting techniques, emulating watercolor on paper. Blue and white porcelain was popularized in China by the Mongol emperors during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). Trade along The Silk Road meant access to Middle Eastern imports, including Persian and Central Asian cobalt ore that facilitated the porcelain production from the 14th to the early 15th century. Domestic sources of cobalt ore, including the vibrant Buddha Head blue, replaced or were mixed with the expensive imported cobalt.
Provenance William T. or Henry Walters Collection, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Inscriptions spurious reign mark of Jiajing (1521-1566)
Credit Acquired by William T. or Henry Walters
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