This magnificent plum vase (meiping) derives its name from being used to hold a branch from a flowering plum tree. Vases of this shape with a round shoulder and narrow opening originally served as wine containers. Kilns in southern China that produced this ware with a transparent bluish glaze were among the first that applied underglaze blue-and-white decoration, which became popular during the Yuan (1271–1368) and Ming (1368–1644) dynasties. These elegantly carved floral sprays on a monochromatic ground reflect the refined taste of the Song dynasty emperors.
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