Yongle Emperor (1360-1424) (reigned 1403-1424), China 
Brenda Zara Seligman, London 
Mr. Frederick M. Mayer, New York 
Mr. Rafi Y. Mottahedeh (died 1978) and Mrs. Mildred R. Mottahedeh (1908-2000), NY 
J. J. Lally & Co. Oriental Art, New York, to 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from J. J. Lally & Co. Oriental Art in 1998
 According to Curatorial Note 1, Jan Stuart, January 6, 1998, in the object record.
 According to Curatorial Note 7 in the object record.
 See note 2.
 See note 2.
- Previous Owner(s)
J. J. Lally & Co. Oriental Art
Frederick M. Mayer
Yongle Emperor 1360-1424; (reigned 1403-1424)
Brenda Zara Seligman 1882-1965
Rafi Y. and Mildred R. Mottahedeh 1908-2000
Very fine, light gray-white porcelain stembowl, with broad deep bowl and outflaring rim, set on a tall tubular stem. Finely incised dragons decorate the interior of the bowl and characters are incised in the center bottom. The porcelain is covered with a clear glaze.
Yongle period (1403-1424) mark in seal script.
The Yongle emperor, who ruled during the Ming dynasty, enjoyed monochrome white porcelain—a preference tied to his promotion of Tibetan Buddhism, which equates white with purity. This stem bowl, with its softly lustrous, sugary whiteness, was likely used at the Chinese court as a Buddhist altar vessel. Its walls are so thin that the glaze forms part of their substance. In strong, raking light, a reign mark incised in the well of the bowl and two gamboling dragons on the sidewalls become visible. Such “hidden decoration” was a technical challenge and imperial prerogative.
- Published References
- Jingdezhen chu tu Ming chu guan yao ci qi (Imperial Hongwu and Yongle Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen). Exh. cat. Taipei. pp. 282, 364.
- Collection Area(s)
- Chinese Art
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
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