Description An enlarged pilgrim's flask acts as the ground for two circular panels and surrounding decoration in outline and wash underglaze cobalt blue. The scenes on either side represent scenes from the Yuzhi Gengzhi tu, a set of forty-six paintings illustrating rice and silk culture commissioned by the Kangxi emperor (1662-1722) in 1696. The series was published in 1712, drawn by court official Jiao Bingzheng after the original illustrations published in 1210 by Lou Shu. It is said that Bingzheng was influenced by European Jesuit missionaries in China and attempted to apply western methods of perspective to the landscape. These depictions of the Yuzhi Gengzhi Tu became a repeated decorative pattern, normally including a man plowing with an ox paired with three women winding silk threads. This flask includes two scenes of a man plowing, a large tree in the foreground and the background filled with water and mountains. Surrounding the scenes are arabesque peony scrolls; the neck is decorated with sculpted bats eating fungi and painted bats between them. A seal mark is placed centrally above the round scene-filled panels. The cobalt blue pigments are applied in varied shades of subdued blue, softly brushed on the receding sky and speckled on the fields. Textures abound with the use of thin brush strokes, patches of wet pigment, splattering, or dragging pigment. 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 in the Qing dynasty resulted in superbly crafted porcelains with well combined body, glaze, cobalt pigment, and skillful decoration. Refined blue cobalt allowed for adventurous and varied painting techniques. The Manchu emperors of the Qing were also interested in traditional Chinese culture and sought to emulate the blue and white porcelain of the Ming and Song dynasties.
- Imperial Chinese Treasures from the Walters Collection. 0.
- Masterpieces of Chinese Porcelain. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980-1981.
Provenance William M. Laffan; William M. Laffan Sale, American Art Galleries, January 20-21, 1911, no. 107; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1911 [mode of acquisition unknown]; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Inscriptions [Reign Mark] In blue underglaze: da qing qian long nian zhi
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1911
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