Ming Dynasty Porcelain

Ming dynasty, 1368-1644

The Ming Dynasty saw an extraordinary period of innovation in ceramic manufacture. Kilns investigated new techniques in design and shapes, showing a preference for color and painted design. During the Xuande (1425–35), a technical refinement was introduced in the preparation of the cobalt used for underglaze blue decoration. Prior to this the cobalt had been brilliant in color, but with a tendency to bleed in firing; by adding a manganese the color was duller, but the line crisper. Xuande porcelain is now considered among the finest of all Ming output. In addition to these decorative innovations, the late Ming period underwent a dramatic shift towards a market economy exporting porcelain around the world on an unprecedented scale.   In Yung Lo reign (1403-1424), both the potting and glazing techniques improved and wares attained a whiter body and richer blue than those of Yuan dynasty ware. The underglaze blue of the Yung Lo wares and Hsuen Te (1426-1435) wares noted or their rich blue tone. Throughout the Ming dynasty, dragon and phoenix were the most popular decorative motifs on ceramic wares.

“Dragon pattern as the nose of the bottle” China, Porcelain  Xuande (1425–1435)

Chinese style of Ming dynasty Original Size: Mouth 10cm xBottom 17.5cm xHigh 38cm

Private collection Unit Price (RMB): 6,000

The porcelains of the Ming dynasty have attained such recognition in the West that “Ming” has become almost generic for anything ceramic fabricated in China before the twentieth century. While, unhappily, many of the pieces called Ming have no possible claim to that attribution, the porcelains that were produced during the period are among the most beautiful and exciting to emerge from China’s kilns.

Cup, Ming dynasty, Chenghua mark and period (1465–1487), China, Porcelain painted in underglaze blue and over-glaze enamels

In doucai(contrasting colors) decoration, designs were completely outlined in cobalt blue on the unfired vessel, and a few areas of blue wash were painted in as well. After glazing and the usual high-temperature firing, the outlines were filled in with over-glaze red, green, yellow, and aubergine enamels that were then fired at low temperatures. 

Dish, Ming dynasty, Hongzhi mark and period (1488–1505) China Porcelain painted in underglaze blue with yellow, overglaze enamelsDiam. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)

The technique of adding yellow enamel to previously glazed and fired porcelains and then firing the enamel at a low temperature was probably developed in China during the Xuande period (1426–35). The dish belongs to a series of rather heavily potted dishes with this five-petalled flower as the principal design that originated in the Xuande period and continued to be produced until at least the Jiajing reign (1522–66).

I chose Ming Dynasty Porcelain as it has always intrigued me, it gives me a feeling of age-old wisdom coupled with a sense of tranquility. I find it extraordinarily beautiful, the graceful curves of the decorations and the harmonious colors applied to the dishware and skillfully glazed make for an unusual piece of “pottery”, but more in my mind a fascinating art-form.



http://www.arttiques.com/about_history.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_ceramics




  1. 1

    I love Ming dynasty vases, more so for their iconic art style than the fact that its the prized medium of porcelain. The rich blues are also what draw me into the style. The limited colors that could be used for glazes makes the pieces much simpler and easier to focus on the little details of the image.

    Very good information on the art, it explained pretty much what a person needs to know about porcelain.

    Good work.

  2. 2
    dionk20 Says:

    Great selection of works for this blog. I didn’t even think to do the ming artwork, but after reading your blog and seeing some of the porcelain, I am fascinated by this era. The work is all so beautiful, and it is only enhanced by the fact that the whole process of coloring the porcelain was so difficult to master. The sharp designs are simple, yet so elegant.

    I think you did a good job fulfilling all of the criteria of this assignment. Keep up the good work!

RSS Feed for this entry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: