Stem-cup with Lotus design in doucai technique

AnonymousChenghua period (1465 - 1487), Ming dynasty

Hong Kong Museum of Art

Hong Kong Museum of Art
Hong Kong , Hong Kong

This stemcup has gently curved sides, a deep belly and a tall, splayed stem foot. The exterior is decorated with a lotus design, where the petals and leaves are outlined in underglaze blue and filled in with overglaze red, yellow and green. A single line border in underglaze blue marks the interior and exterior of the mouth rim and is repeated on the splayed foot. The base of the splayed stem is hollow. The base bears a six-character mark of the Chenghua period inscribed in underglaze blue in two columns of regular script. With its well-balanced form, its thin, light porcelain body and its finely painted decoration, this stemcup ranks among the finest doucai enamelled wares of the period.

The use of doucai enamels began in the Xuande period (1426 - 1435) of the Ming dynasty, but the technique was brought to maturity in the Chenghua period (1465 - 1487). The term doucai, literally "contesting colours", refers to the coexistence of underglaze and overglaze decorations on the same item. The design would first be outlined or partially painted in cobalt blue pigment, then the entire vessel would be coated with a transparent glaze and fired at a high temperature. Next, coloured enamels would be applied over the surface of the glaze to complete the design, before the vessel was fired a second time at a lower temperature.


  • Title: Stem-cup with Lotus design in doucai technique
  • Creator: Anonymous
  • Date Created: Chenghua period (1465 - 1487), Ming dynasty
  • Physical Dimensions: w6.1 x h5 cm
  • Type: Ceramics

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