Pottery In The Ming Dynasty

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One of the major achievements during the Ming dynasty, regarding art, is pottery. “By 1433 over 500,000 pieces were being produced each year.” (Porcelain) During the Ming dynasty, technique in glazing and sculpting advanced immensely. Colors became more prominent, designs more detailed, and materials stronger with intriguing new elements. Pottery made a big impact on the lives of the chinese people. They molded their lives around these beautiful creations in many ways. During its time, the milky white and cobalt blue porcelain was the most internationally sought-after of all ceramics. The blue and white porcelain was not invented during the Ming dynasty, but it was perfected. Clays were created that could be made into thinner vessels and glazes were made with a purer, glossier finish. The designs grew to a wider range of shapes and patterns for a more detailed finish. (Morris) The image on the left shows a vase with expert brushwork of blue underglaze on a pure white porcelain. It has lots of detailed patterns that are commonly found in all styles done at this time. This is one of the most typical forms of pottery during the Ming Dynasty.
This piece can currently be found in at The Met Museum. It is called, “Jar with Dragon.” A description of the piece writes about this style pot, arguably, being one of the most “most important development in the global history of ceramics.” The description talks this pot being made for the court, dating back to the rule of the Xuande emperor, and the powerful dragon smoothly moving through a sky. They talk about the the monstrous faces on the neck of the jar originating from the “face of glory” that can be found in Indo-Himalayan imagery and became popular in china in the fifteenth century.” (Jar)
Porcelain was also enriched with the innovation of five-colored wares. Applying a variety of over-glaze pigments to decorative schemes of flower, landscape and figurative scenes. (Chinese) Five colorware was applied in the 16th century in stronger colors beautifully contrasted against a pure white background.(Silbergeld) Looking to the image at the right, you can see a pot with a floral pattern painted in shades of blue, green, red, brown, and yellow, all on a pure white base.
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