Dish with design of mandarin fish

Dish with flattened rim. Blue-and-white.
Clay: fine white porcelain.
Glaze: transparent and colorless
Foot: Unglazed
Decoration: in underglaze blue, a mandarin fish among water weeds in center; lotus scroll in and outside cavetto; wave pattern on rim. Unglazed base.

(L.A. Cort, November 1991) In decoration “large” is changed to “mandarin” in describing the fish.

(Jan Stuart, 6/3/2020) I added “colorless” to the glaze description and added “Foot: unglazed.”

Historical period(s)
Yuan dynasty, mid 14th century
Medium
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under colorless glaze
Style
Jingdezhen ware
Dimensions
H x Diam: 8 × 45.5 cm (3 1/8 × 17 15/16 in)
Geography
China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1971.3
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Dish

Keywords
China, cobalt pigment, fish, grass, Jingdezhen ware, lotus, porcelain, water, wave, WWII-era provenance, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

Dish with flattened rim. Blue-and-white.
Clay: fine white porcelain.
Glaze: transparent and colorless
Foot: Unglazed
Decoration: in underglaze blue, a mandarin fish among water weeds in center; lotus scroll in and outside cavetto; wave pattern on rim. Unglazed base.

(L.A. Cort, November 1991) In decoration "large" is changed to "mandarin" in describing the fish.

(Jan Stuart, 6/3/2020) I added "colorless" to the glaze description and added "Foot: unglazed."

Label

A mandarin fish, identified by its spiny fin and protruding jaw, swims through a dense growth of eelgrass, duckweed and clover fern. A lotus scroll twines endlessly in the well, and a diaper pattern border the flat rim. The division of the surface into concentric bands of disparate patterns reflects the decoration on Islamic metalwares.

Published References
  • Maris Boyd Gillette. China's Porcelain Capital: The Rise, Fall and Reinvention of Ceramics in Jingdezhen. London. Plate 2.
  • William Watson. The Art of Dynastic China. New York, 1981. cat. 663.
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 28.
  • Margaret Medley. The Chinese Potter: A Practical History of Chinese Ceramics. Oxford. fig. 133.
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 23, p. 32.
  • Audrey McBain. Ming Blue and White Export Wares., November-December, 1982. p. 57.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 71.
  • The Editors of Time-Life Books. China. Library of Nations Amsterdam. pp. 82-83.
  • Art of Asia Recently Acquired by American Museums, 1971
    . vol. 26 New York and Honolulu, 1972-1973. p. 84, fig. 22.
  • Edwards Park. Treasures from the Smithsonian Institution., 1st ed. Washington and New York. p. 345.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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