CHONGZHEN 1628 – 1644 Ming Porcelain

A Ming Blue and White Porcelain Kaiseki Dish Made for the Japanese Market, Late Ming, Transitional Period, Chongzhen 1628-1644. Decorated with the Three Friends of Winter, Pine, Bamboo and Prunus. The Gnarled Pine in the Center is Twisted to Form a `Shou` Character Meaning Luck and Blessings. The Border is of Informal Scrolling Plants Including Lingzhi Fungus.


Diameter : 16 cm (6 1/4 inches)
Stock number



Ming Porcelain for Japan :
During the late Ming Period the Chinese made a large among of porcelain for the Japanese market, it was made from the Wanli period (1573-1620) and ended in the Chongzhen period (1628-1644), the main period of production being the 1620`2 and 1630`s. The porcelain objects produced were made especially for the Japanese market, both the shapes and the designs were tailored to Japanese taste, the production process too allowed for Japanese aesthetics to be included in the finished object. Its seams firing faults were added, repaired tears in the leather-hard body were too frequent to not, in some cases, be deliberate. These imperfections as well as the fritting Mushikui (insect-nibbled) rims and kiln grit on the footrims all added to the Japanese aesthetic. The shapes created were often expressly made for the Japanese tea ceremony meal, the Kaiseki, small dishes for serving food at the tea ceremony are the most commonly encountered form. Designs, presumably taken from Japanese drawings sent to China, are very varied, often using large amount of the white porcelain contrasting well with the asymmetry of the design.

The Three Friends of Winter :
These three plants, Pine, Bamboo and Prunus, signify perseverance. Neither the Pine nor the Bamboo shed their leaves in winter and the Plum flowers at the very end of the winter, heralding the arrival of spring.

Ruyi-Head and Lingzhi Fungus Designs:
The Ruyi scepter has been an important symbol in China since at least Western Han times, its origins are still unclear, it might be Chinese but it could equally well be a Buddhist import. The Taoists believe the Ruyi evolved from the Lingzhifungus, their symbol of immortality. Indeed the Ruyi-Head, that is the top of the scepter which curves back over the main body is often modelled as a Lingzhi fungus cloud form. Lingzhi is the immorality fungus and Ruyi means "may you have".

Condition: In excellent condition. The rim with a very small amount of mushikui fritting. The is a small firing chip under the glaze on the rim at about 4 o'clock. The dish is warped.