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Cultivating Virtue: China

Post #863 • August 30, 2006, 5:41 PM • 8 Comments

We don't call the stuff that for nothing.

As curator Anne Kitagawa pointed out, you can find more refined pieces, but few so old that you can still see a bit of roughness in the decorative glaze. The painting technique had not yet reached the perfect refinement that it would achieve only a short time later. (Just for fun, note that the piece is contemporaneous with Masaccio.) The throw, however, is flawless - thin-walled, light-footed, and lovely in profile.

Deep, Circular Charger with Everted Lip and Blossoming Peony Décor, Chinese; Ming dynasty, early 15th century (probably Yongle period, 1403-1424). Blue-and-white ware: porcelain with decoration painted in underglaze cobalt blue, 7 x 40.5 cm. Courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums. Purchase through generosity of the Ralph C. Marcove International Understanding Through Arts and Crafts Foundation. Photo: Photographic Services © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

And that wraps up Cultivating Virtue. (Previous CV entries one, two, three.) Next, I put PSiNE to bed.




August 30, 2006, 11:38 PM

This is porcelain. Was it thrown or cast?


Sneekie Piet

August 31, 2006, 8:03 AM

If it WAS thrown, there's always the magic of trimming; porcelain trims beautifully.



August 31, 2006, 8:12 AM

Thinking back, I don't remember seeing indicators that it was a cast, and it's also possible that they casted a thrown original. Whatever the construction method, it is well done.



August 31, 2006, 8:59 AM

I ask because somewherre in my limited education about ceramic production I understood that porcelain is very hard to throw - especially to the extreme thinness that the best Chinese porcelain aspired to - and is therefore usually slip cast.



August 31, 2006, 2:24 PM

This just in:

Munch's "The Scream," stolen 2 years ago, has been recovered, along with another stolen Munch.



August 31, 2006, 6:12 PM

A message from Anne Rose Kitagawa:

"Although I am not a ceramic specialist, I checked with one of my colleagues who is and she said that the piece about which you inquired -- the Deep Circular Charger with Everted Lip and Blossoming Peony Decor, 2005.110 -- was, in fact, worked on a wheel. One can tell because on its underside (which is obviously not visible in the photo or in our Cultivating Virtue exhibition), there are distinctive circular marks. Moreover, my colleague mentioned that because of its large size, the charger does not have the paper-thin walls that characterize some very fine Chinese porcelains. I should also note that the quality of the charger's painted decoration is very fine, one can readily see the technical improvement between it and that on the (earlier) mid-14th century Charger with Foliate Rim and Peacock Decoration (1961.112) also on view in the same gallery."



September 1, 2006, 7:53 AM

Once again, I am also not an expert, but presumably "distinctive circular marks" can also be transferred from a mold or the result of trimming on a wheel after casting.

I'm not trying to be argumentative; I just find the subject interesting and I can find little information either way. There seems to be a lot of data on clay bodies, glazes, centers of manufacture and such like, but very little on the actual creation of the form.



September 1, 2006, 10:30 AM

Interesting contrast between such artistic or aesthetic refinement and such an appalling history of human rights abuses, apparently since time immemorial.



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