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Blue-and-White Porcelain Vase

Date: Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD)

Place: Changde, China

Height: 30cm; Diameter at mouth: 8.4 cm; Max Diameter: 15cm

This vase has a bell-shaped mouth, a long slender neck, a round swelling body and a ringed foot, with under-glaze blue and white designs. The interior of the mouth is painted with ornamental scepter patterns, its ringed foot with curving grass patterns and its belly with several figures. The military general in the middle wears high phoenix-tail helmet and thick armor. One of the warriors in the front is holding a kneeling captive while the other warrior seems to be making a report. Dotted among these historical characters are rockeries, fences, plantain, bamboo leaves, flowers and grass. 


Pear-shaped vases were originally used to contain alcohol, then gradually became tools of holding flowers, and finally decorations.    

Among the various porcelain works of Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD), blue-and-white porcelain stands out for its freshness and lucidity. Decorations of stories with historical figures are most popular in this kind of porcelain. The great drawing skill of the craftsmen in this period of time helps introduce a new stage of visual appreciation in the history of Chinese porcelain.  

There are only dozens of blue-and-white porcelain works of Yuan Dynasty left now with many of them abroad. Very few can be seen in mainland China.