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Blue and White Brush Washer
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Blue and White Brush Washer

Description Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This brush washer is painted with underglaze cobalt blue depicting a scaly four clawed dragon on a white porcelain body. The mythical beast, eyes aflame, issues tendrils of fire as it pursues jewels amid the clouds. Below, along the foot of the washer, waves swell and spew sprays of water. Outline and wash application of pigment is employed to provide varied shades of blue, contrasting the rich outlines with the softer fill. A round foot-rim swells outward to form a low-seated pot with bulging sides. The large mouth creates a functional opening for this water vessel. 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.
  • Centennial Exhibition Philadelphia. Memorial Hall, Philadelphia, Philadelphia. 1876.
Provenance Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1876; purchased by William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1876; inherited by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Inscriptions spurious mark of Chenghua (1464-1487)
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, 1876

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porcelain with underglaze blue
Accession Number
H: 3 3/16 in. (8.1 cm)
  • China (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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