The Ming dynasty, spanning from 1368-1644 AD, is considered an age of transformation from a largely agrarian to a mercantile economy which led to a series of profound social changes. It is an era when men sought to revive classical culture after the foreign Mongol Yuan dynasty (1280-1368 AD). Porcelain was at the heart of Ming Dynasty and the history of the Ming period, its rise, expansion and subsequent decline, can be traced throughout. Similar to the Renaissance in Europe, the Ming Dynasty signed a period of artistic and literary prosperity in China with porcelain being its most recognisable and admired production. A succession of seventeen emperors governed a population which saw a drastic increase during nearly 300 years of relative peace and stability. This, together with the Dynasty’s economic success, explains the culture’s artistic explosion and innovation. Innumerable kilns across China, from family workshops to factories, made a great diversity of ceramics to supply the market. At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, the imperial factory was established at Jingdezhen, which, aside from supplying porcelain for domestic and court use, began large-scale production for export to Europe under the reign of the Wanli Emperor (1573-1620) Ming pottery and porcelain, therefore, has influenced the way people serve food and decorate their buildings from Europe to East Africa.
Chinese Ming Deep Tz’u Chou Ware Glazed Basin
A large Chinese ceramic basin produced during the Ming dynasty. The vessel sits upon a flat base, pierced through the centre, and features sides that extend outwards and are slightly convex leading to a flattened out-splayed rim. A white glaze is displayed across the outside and is enriched with two fish motifs painted in brown pigment across the upper body. The fishes are facing right, with their anatomical features painted in a stylised manner including the large circular eye, fins, tail and scales. Alternating with the fish is a flower motif, possibly a peony. The scene is enclosed by a raised horizontal ribbon-shaped band underneath.
Period: Ming Dynasty
Provenance: From the collection of a Japanese gentleman, deceased (1970-2010)
Condition: Fine condition, some surface cracks to the body with chips to the ribbon border. Slight blue colouration underneath one of the fish.