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Vase in the Shape of a
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Vase in the Shape of a "Gu"

Description Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This tall trumpet shaped vessel in the shape of an ancient bronze "gu" has a thin body divided by a central bulge and topped with an exaggerated flare. A gu was a ceremonial vessel for wine or ritual libations, and this underglaze blue and white porcelain variety would have also been an appropriate object for an altar table or as a decorative vase. Lotus blossoms and spiked leaves are painted as a uniform decoration in cobalt blue under a clear glaze layer. 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 pigment, and skillful decoration. The Manchu rulers of the Qing dynasty were also preoccupied with ancient Chinese culture, utilizing traditional shapes, designs, and glazes of the Song and Ming dynasties. This vase combines the ancient and the then modern in a harmonious manner that is indicative of the end of the Kangxi emperor's reign.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese Porcelain. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980-1981.
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 in underglaze blue of the Zhengde emperor (1505-1521)
Credit Bequest of Henry Walters, 1931

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1720-1730 (Qing dynasty (1644-1911))
porcelain with underglaze blue
Accession Number
H: 14 15/16 × Diam: 7 7/16 in. (37.9 × 18.9 cm)
  • China (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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