Description This white porcelain box is painted inside and out with underglaze cobalt blue designs. The inside of both the bottom and lid depict a natural scene of a peach tree, symbol of longevity, and peonies, symbolic of love, affection, and feminine beauty. The branches of the peach tree spread out to the inner sides. The exterior is covered in floral patterns of leaves and blossoms. Diaper patterns frame panels of floral scrolls on the sides. Stylized clouds scrolls appear on the stepped base from the bottom portion of the box. 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, later replaced or were mixed with the expensive imported cobalt. The kilns of Jingdezhen were the center for export and Imperial blue and white porcelain. During the reign of Wanli (1573-1619) corrupt exploitation of the Jingdezhen kilns for economic reasons led to an increase in private kiln production, patronage and subsequently the quality of blue and white porcelain.
- Masterpieces of Chinese Porcelain. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980-1981.
Provenance Yanamaka Sale, American Art Galleries, 1912, no. 11; Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Inscriptions [Reign Mark] In underglaze blue: da ming wan li nian zhi
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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