Ding ware dish with molded decoration of mandarin ducks

Plate with design of mandarin ducks, lotuses, and other aquatic plants raised in low relief. Border of foliate patterns on sloping edge. Rim unglazed with brass binding. No spur marks.
Body: probably dense white, completely covered.
Glaze: uniform creamy white.

Historical period(s)
Jin dynasty, 12th-mid 13th century
Medium
Porcelain with ivory-toned transparent glaze; metal rim
Style
Ding ware
Dimensions
H x W: 1.7 x 14 cm (11/16 x 5 1/2 in)
Geography
China, Hebei province
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1944.15
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Dish

Keywords
China, Ding ware, duck, Jin dynasty (1115 - 1234), porcelain, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Description

Plate with design of mandarin ducks, lotuses, and other aquatic plants raised in low relief. Border of foliate patterns on sloping edge. Rim unglazed with brass binding. No spur marks.
Body: probably dense white, completely covered.
Glaze: uniform creamy white.

Label

During the Jin dynasty, molded decoration became the most popular means for embellishing Ding ware, which in earlier periods often bore designs carved by hand. Molds advanced ceramic technology by allowing large numbers of nearly identical dishes to be produced without sacrificing the quality of the intricate design.  This dish portrays a duck swimming in a lotus pond toward its mate on the shore.  The design is a standard metaphor for marital harmony, as Mandarin ducks mate for life. 

Published References
  • Grace Dunham Guest, Archibald Gibson Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 9.
  • Robert Hatfield Ellsworth’s DISCOVERY. Lexington, Massachusetts. p. 38, fig. 19.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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