Reference to and reverence for the past are enshrined in the Chinese artistic tradition. Just as painters sought to achieve the lofty ideals of earlier masters, so potters sought to emulate the refined achievements of their predecessors. This exquisite wine cup demonstrates that the extraordinarily fine porcelains of the Chenghua period (1467-87) of the Ming dynasty were a natural source of inspiration for the technically accomplished potters of the early Qing. In all respects the vessel emulates its Chenghua precursors. The perfection of the almost miniature form is matched by the quiet refinement of the underglaze blue decoration and the subtle exuberance of the overglaze enamels. The 'doucai' technique, meaning 'contending' or 'contrasting colours', juxtaposes the bright but transparent enamel colours- in this case red, green, yellow, turquoise and pale aubergine with the softer tone of the underglaze blue.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 257.
Qing dynasty 1644 - 1911 → China
porcelain with underglaze blue and overglaze enamels in the 'doucai' style
3.8 x 8.1 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Mr J.H. Myrtle 1992
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 5 publications
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 257 (colour illus.).
Jackie Menzies, AGNSW Collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 203 (colour illus.).
Julian Thompson, Orientations, 'Chinese Porcelain in the Collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 96-103, Hong Kong, Sep 2000, 102 (colour illus.). fig.10
1000 Years of Chinese Ceramics, Sydney, 1970. cat. no. 64
The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Marvel of Porcelain', Sydney, 2003, 119 (colour illus.).