Yunnan Blue-And-White Ware Vessel | China, 15-16C

A sake bottle with abstracted painting in the dull color blue pigments fired in Yuxi kiln in Yunnan province in the Ming dynasty.

As a collective of many ethnic groups, the Yunnan has long been in autonomy from the control of central China and developed its own culture. As for ceramics, with the advent of glazed pottery influenced by the mainland in the late Han Dynasty, its production became active in the late Tang dynasty along with the burial culture since ancient time.

Most of the blue-and-white wares excavated from the tombs of the Yuan dynasty were blackish to grayish blue because Yunnan’s cobalt was locally sourced and high in manganese content. However, it has been indicated that cobalt was imported via Yunnan, where located on the Southwest Silk Road, and that it may have been produced blue-and-white earlier than Jingdezhen.

In Yunnan, where cremation was deeply rooted, pottery production centered on producing grave goods continued until the Qing dynasty. However, since the Ming dynasty, it seems that practical items such as ritual utensils and tablewares were made by integrating the traditional designs of the Yunnan people with the designs of Jingdezhen Qinghua brought from the mainland. This relatively large sake bottle may be utilized for funeral ceremonies.

The spiral patterns drawn in the center are reminiscent of the unduly excited eyes of a horse like Japan’s Seto ware. This design, which represents the primordial vortex, is depicted in the such remote location surrounded by the mountain, and in the other far eastern archipelago surrounded by the sea, that may denote a craving for an ultimate life-giving force of human beings.

There are some defects during the kiln process, and glaze flaking, also the rim is slightly repaired.

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