Yunnan Province, Southwest China, Yuan Dynasty, 14th Century
Of pear or bottle vase form, the Yunnan-ware blue and white yuhuchunping, with slender neck and trumpet
mouth, having a grainy glaze and blue-black underglaze painting with classical horizontal divisions, featuring
floral panels and stiff palmette leaves to the neck
Condition: well done invisible repair to rim
The production of blue and white decoration on porcelain was first cultivated in China during the Yuan Dynasty -
about 1330. In 1279, the Mongol warrior Genghis Kahn penetrated the Great Wall of China, conquering the lands
from the Sea of Japan on the east to the Black Sea on the west. He founded the short-lived Mongol Yuan Dynasty,
(1279-1368). This empire included parts of Russia, India, and more importantly to ceramics - Persia.
The Persians revered blue and white ceramics, and, although having the necessary cobalt ore for the blue coloration,
they could not stabilize it in firing. So by way of Middle Eastern merchant sailing ships, they sent to China, known for
her prowess with ceramics, a bright blue-firing cobalt, along with Egyptian metalwares as guides for shapes. These
very vibrant and densely decorated porcelains were first produced at the Jingdezhen kilns in China about 1330.
The Chinese, who at the time, used monochromes (mostly celadons, and whitewares) regarded the new blue and
garish and completely unsuitable for domestic use. Some of the finest early blue and white Chinese porcelain
white resides in the Topkapi Museum, in Instanbul.
China produced these blue and white wares not only in Jingdezhen, but several regional kilns. Some of the regional kilns,
as Yunnan, fired local ores, producing a softer grey-blue or blue-black. The Yunnan wares, as shown above, also had a
somewhat grainy glaze.
A vase of the same form and coloration is pictured in
Lee Kong Chian Art Museum of the National University of Singapore, Yaw Lu, Fig. #38,
from the Yuxi Kilns in Yunnan, where local cobalt ore with manganese was used for the blue decoration
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