China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen kilns, Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Chenghua mark and reign (1464-1487)
porcelain with underglaze blue and overglaze enamel decoration
Overall - h:4.80 cm (h:1 7/8 inches)
These two Ming imperial wares [1957.60 and 1957.61] are among the smallest, but most precious, of the museum's holdings in Chinese ceramics. Luminosity of glaze, freedom of drawing, and vibrancy of color are perfectly unified to fit the delicate shapes of these luxury items.
The Chenghua wine cup demonstrates a level of technical advancement that demands respectful
admiration according to Lee: "While it may seem foolish and self-indulgent to revel in the exquisite refinement of the ‘oily’ glaze and the violet tinge of the luminous blue, these pleasures are the essence of enjoyment and evaluation of such cabinet porcelains. Such connoisseurship has a long history
in China and a strong recent one in the West. The wine cups set standards by which other porcelains are judged."