Large plate with design of lotus pond in underglaze blue

Late Yuan dynasty (early 14th century)

Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

This large underglaze blue dish has a flattened rim, curved cavetto, flat bottom, short foot ring and unglazed base. The bold decoration is in four discernible zones: first, the center has a lotus pond design with single-leaf double-lotus bouquets adorning its four sides; second and third, scrolls of lotus encircle both the cavetto and the underside of the body; and finally, the upper side of the mouth rim is ornamented with continuous diaper patterns.

Its thick body is one of the dish's special features. Jingdezhen potters of the Yuan dynasty mixed kaolin with porcelain stone to produce porcelain, and the resulting higher portion of aluminum in the composition allowed thickening of the biscuit so that large vessels could be made. Bold paintings done in vigorous strokes are hallmarks of these skilled potters of the 14th century. In addition, the use of imported cobalt of lower manganese but higher iron content gave a rich but uneven blue tone that enhanced the overall shade of the blue painting. The quality of late Yuan blue and white ware from Jingdezhen was at its finest during the Zhizheng reign (1341–1368), and so the Chinese gave it the collective term “Zhizheng style”, while in the West it is better known as the “David vase type”, referring to a pair of blue and white temple vases with a dedicatory inscription dated 1351, now in the collection of the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Because of this date, the whole group of Yuan blue and whites of this style can be attributed to the mid-14th century.

This large dish demonstrates the characteristics of the greatly respected group of blue and white ware from Jiangxi. The repertoire of decoration on these large dishes is very varied, though the lotus pond design, with or without a pair of mandarin ducks, is a frequent theme. These large dishes were produced mainly for export. Almost identical examples are in Middle East collections such as the Topkapi Sarayi and Ardibel Shrine.


  • Title: Large plate with design of lotus pond in underglaze blue
  • Date Created: Late Yuan dynasty (early 14th century)
  • Location Created: Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province
  • Physical Dimensions: MD 40.5 cm
  • Provenance: Gift of Friends of the Art Museum
  • Type: Ceramics
  • Rights: Collection of Art Museum, CUHK
  • Medium: Porcelain
  • Accession number: 1985.0121

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