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Stem cup with design of eight Buddhist emblems



  • Details

    Other Title
    Stem cup with design of eight Buddhist emblems and lotus flowers
    Place where the work was made
    Jingdezhen Jiangxi Province China
    Xuande 1426 - 1435 Ming dynasty 1368 - 1644 → China
    Media category
    Materials used
    porcelain with underglaze blue decoration
    10.0 x 11.9 cm
    Purchased 1979
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Jingdezhen ware

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Emperor Xuande ascended the throne of China in 1426: his reign is celebrated amongst Chinese connoisseurs for the superior quality of its porcelains, bronzes and lacquers. Xuande himself reportedly took a personal interest in the 58 kilns at Jingdezhen which were occupied with filling the Imperial orders for porcelain, and the blue and white porcelain of this period is considered the finest ever made. The style and decoration of Xuande blue and white was much copied in succeeding reigns.

    This stem cup would have been an Imperial ware made for the use of the court. While stem cups were used at the court as either wine vessels or ceremonial cups in Buddhist rituals, during the Xuande period they were almost solely used for Buddhist rituals intended to be placed on an altar before the image of a Buddha or Bodhisattva and filled with clear water. The decoration confirms this vessel to have been used in Buddhist rituals - the decoration is the Eight Buddhist emblems resting on lotus blossoms, a Buddhist symbol of purity. The decoration illustrates the 'heaped and piled' effect, the unevenness of colour which results from the heavier application of the underglaze blue in some parts, an effect esteemed by connoisseurs of Chinese ceramics, partly as proof of authenticity.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 14 November 1979.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 6 publications

  • Provenance

    Joshua McClelland Print Room, pre 1979, Melbourne/Victoria/Australia, purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1979.

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