Uniface copper alloy coin: Yongle tongbao, (obverse) Four-character inscription, (reverse) Blank. 1 cash, 1403-1424, Yongle period, Ming dynasty, GC.366 © Trustees of the British Museum
Large porcelain dish with underglaze blue decoration, 1403-1424, Yongle period, Ming dynasty, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. Diameter: 37.3 centimetres. Height: 7 centimetres. Weight: 1.75 kilograms. Donated by Mrs Winifred Roberts (In memory of A.D. Brankston. 1954,0420.1 © Trustees of the British Museum
This dish has rounded sides, a flat rising rim with a rolled edge, raised foot ring and slightly convex base. It is painted under the glaze in blue with a fruiting and flowering melon plant growing out of soil, and in the well with eight flowering plants joined in a continuous scroll showing (clockwise from the top): pomegranate, tree peony, herbaceous peony, lotus, rose, camellia, rose, chrysanthemum. The rim shows a wave border with crests reserved in white. Outside the dish is decorated with six separate sprays of auspicious fruiting plants: cherry, ginkgo, peach, lychee, grape and pomegranate. The base is unglazed.
Harrison-Hall 2001: This dish can be dated by stylistic comparison to an almost identical dish excavated in the Yongle stratum at Dongmentou, Zhushan, Jingdezhen, in 1994. Dishes of this type were made for the domestic market, and were also traded in the Near East. An almost identical example is in the Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul. Another is in the Ardebil shrine. These dishes are quite rare, but another example is in the Tianminlou Foundation.
Bibliography: Harrison-Hall, Jessica, Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, BMP, 2001
Exhibited: Treasures touring exhibition 2014 – 2016
2009 1 May-20 Sep, Victoria, Royal BC Museum, Treasures of the World’s Cultures
2009 11 Dec-2010 10 May, Madrid, Canal de Isabel II, Treasures of the World’s Cultures
2012 18 Apr – 17 Jul, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, ‘Treasures of the World’s Cultures’
2012 Nov 30 – 2013 Apr 4, Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle, ‘Treasures of The World’s Cultures’
2014 Sep-2015 Jan, BM WCEC, ‘Ming: 50 years that changed China’