Glazed porcelain, qingbai ("blue-white") ware
Diameter: 9 cm (3 9/16 in.); Overall: 6 cm (2 3/8 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Collection 1964.163
Clay beading divides the cup's interior into six foliate panels with a six-petaled flower at the junction of the beaded lines.
Very thinly potted, the subtly lobed body of this cup is almost translucent. The thin, slightly opaque, light greenish glaze lends a sugary shine. Applied elements, including the handle, beaded borders, and sculptural floret, are constructed and glazed with the same materials as the body, providing a seamless blend of form and decorative embellishment. The result is an evocative reminder of slightly earlier silver cups, also created in the form of flowers. This pristine, natural construction is challenged, however, by the archaic dragon that acts as the handle. Borrowed from the decoration found on much earlier bronzes, this added form illustrates the eclecticism of the Yuan, the attempt to blend present vision with interest in the past.
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