Kendi

Kendi (drinking vessel), globular with flattened shoulder, a flattened mammiform drinking spout, a medium length straight neck with deep rounded projecting flange below the lip, low shallow square-cut foot. Small chip in lip, chip in footrim.
Clay: white porcelain of medium-fine texture. Unglazed base shows some dark spots and buff to rusty areas of oxidation on exposed surface.
Glaze: clear, feldspathic, slightly bluish cast, uneven coverage toward base, the dark lines of the cobalt paint decoration exposed in a few areas of base border. As far as can be seen, the interior is unglazed.
Decoration: painted in underglaze blue in line and wash. Flange has a row of lotus petals; the neck, upright floral sprays in natural style; on shoulder, a trefoil band; main wide band around belly, two naturalistic prunus branches and three flying insects; at base a very simplified lotus petal band; spout has two cloud-collar panels holding conventional motifs (one of which is identifiable as a fungus, the other may be the same) and two simple leafy sprays separating the panels. Encircling lines separate the bands of decoration and a line defines both lips. There is a curving line at junction of spout and body.

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, late 15th century
Medium
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under clear, colorless glaze
Style
Jingdezhen ware
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 17 x 12.7 cm (6 11/16 x 5 in)
Geography
China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen, Jingdezhen kilns
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1976.40
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Kendi

Keywords
China, clear glaze, cobalt pigment, flower, Indonesia, insect, Jingdezhen ware, kendi, lotus, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), porcelain, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Description

Kendi (drinking vessel), globular with flattened shoulder, a flattened mammiform drinking spout, a medium length straight neck with deep rounded projecting flange below the lip, low shallow square-cut foot. Small chip in lip, chip in footrim.
Clay: white porcelain of medium-fine texture. Unglazed base shows some dark spots and buff to rusty areas of oxidation on exposed surface.
Glaze: clear, feldspathic, slightly bluish cast, uneven coverage toward base, the dark lines of the cobalt paint decoration exposed in a few areas of base border. As far as can be seen, the interior is unglazed.
Decoration: painted in underglaze blue in line and wash. Flange has a row of lotus petals; the neck, upright floral sprays in natural style; on shoulder, a trefoil band; main wide band around belly, two naturalistic prunus branches and three flying insects; at base a very simplified lotus petal band; spout has two cloud-collar panels holding conventional motifs (one of which is identifiable as a fungus, the other may be the same) and two simple leafy sprays separating the panels. Encircling lines separate the bands of decoration and a line defines both lips. There is a curving line at junction of spout and body.

Label

Blue-and-white was an important export item from the very beginning of its production, first to the Near East and Southeast Asia, then to Europe. The Chinese did not make many concessions to the tastes of these regions. One notable exception was the kendi, a drinking vessel made expressly for the Southeast Asian market. This example, with its floral design painted in a pale shade of blue, dates from the 15th century.

Published References
  • Butterfield & Butterfield. Treasures from the Hoi An Hoard: Important Vietnamese Ceramics from a Late 15th/Early 16th Century Cargo. 2 vols., San Francisco and Los Angeles. .
  • Takatoshi Misugi. The Chinese Porcelain Collection of Topkapi Saray. vol. 2, , Japanese edition. Hong Kong. .
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope. Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine., Second Edition. London. .
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.