On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
An important innovation in the Jiajing period at the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen was “five-color” (wucai) decoration, a combination of underglaze blue and overglaze polychrome enamels, used here to create a dramatic depiction of gold carp darting among reeds. The shoulder of the vessel is decorated with a lotus-petal motif. The Chinese character for fish (yu) is a homophone for “abundance” or “surplus,” and the one for lotus (lian) is a homophone for “continuous”; a lotus combined with a fish becomes a rebus to represent the phrase, “May you continuously have abundance year after year” (liannian youyu). The image of a fish and lotus was also a metaphor for career advancement, as in one leaping to success.
Porcelain, underglaze cobalt blue decoration, overglaze
9 3/16 x 8 15/16 in. (23.3 x 22.7 cm) (show scale)
Imperial Jiajing mark on base
The William E. Hutchins Collection, Bequest of Augustus S. Hutchins
Heavy porcelain with five color (wucai) decoration in overglaze enamels on white ground. Yellow fish are swimming amongst aquatic plants. Shoulder and base are bordered in radial and dentated leaf designs with red, green and underglaze blue outlines. Imperial Jiajing mark.
Globular Jar, 1522-1566. Porcelain, underglaze cobalt blue decoration, overglaze, 9 3/16 x 8 15/16 in. (23.3 x 22.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, The William E. Hutchins Collection, Bequest of Augustus S. Hutchins, 52.49.14. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 52.49.14_bw.jpg)
overall, 52.49.14_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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