White-Glazed Jar with Hidden Design

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Did You Know?

Tianbai, or sweet-white glaze, was developed to accommodate the Yongle emperor’s (reigned 1403–24) preference for white ceramics.


White was a ritual color used in Buddhist ceremonies, as well as the color of mourning. This jar is made of two molded halves that were joined where the vessel’s middle section shows a raised line. It is covered by a silky white glaze called “sweet-white” (tianbai; 甜白). A “hidden design” (anhua; 暗花) of floral scrolls on the shoulder and stylized petals around the base shine through the glaze. The jar may have been used as a planter, a vase for flowers, or it may have held incense sticks on a home altar.
White-Glazed Jar with Hidden Design

White-Glazed Jar with Hidden Design


China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen kilns, Ming dynasty (1368-1644)

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