AGE: – Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
CONSTRUCTION: – Ceramic/Porcelain
DESCRIPTION: – Ming Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Zhengde Mark
HEIGHT: – 8cm
BASE DIAMETER: – 7.7cm
WEIGHT: – 300gms
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Ming Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain jarlet with Zhengde Mark, decorated with trailing vines and floral arrangement around the body and inside lip.
Although the Ming dynasty was renowned for their blue and white porcelains they were also produced during the Yuan dynasty. The renowned author and scholar Lu Mingua refers to blue and white ceramics mentioned in the annals of the Fouliang Porcelain Bureau, a government organization set up to oversee the production of ceramics during the Yuan Dynasty, (Est. 1278 AD, ceasing to exist around 1325 AD).
After 1325 AD., the supervision of ceramic production was handed over to Duan Tinggfui, the Governor of Raozhou Lu, after receiving an imperial decree to oversee the production of ceramics under provincial supervision.
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According to the Fouliang annals the cobalt found in China was of a low quality in comparison to the superior blue pigment of the cobalt brought back to China by the Chinese maritime expeditions to the middle east, probably from Persia, this cobalt was referred to as Mohammedan blue with a high iron oxide content distinguishing it from the native or locally sourced cobalt referred to as Sumahor or sumani containing a high degree of manganese, which produced a pale blue soft colour seen in many Ming ceramics.
From 1368-1398 during the Hongwu period the supply of imported cobalt was interrupted by foreign trade restrictions, it then and made a comeback in the Xuande period (1426-1435 AD).
There is still to this day ongoing debate regards the beginnings of blue and white porcelain and dating. Apart from TL testing which is also not always accurate it is to a large extent a guessing game which takes into account various significant factors found in old porcelain.
The colour of the blue and white in this particular ceramic matches perfectly with a Ming ceramic shard I found washed up and partly buried on a beach in West Kalimantan a popular trading route used for centuries by Chinese merchants. It is highly likely that this jarlet was also a shipwreck ceramic.