Porcelain with sweet-white (tianbai; 甜白) glaze
Overall: 13.9 x 16.4 cm (5 1/2 x 6 7/16 in.)
Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley Collection Gift 2020.185
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.
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