ZHENGTONG to TIANSHUN c.1436 to 1464. Ming Porcelain.
A 15th Century Ming Blue and White Porcelain Bowl from the Ming Interregnum Period of 1436 to 1464.
- Perfect but with a very slightly degraded glaze due to it being from a shipwreck.
- Diameter : 14.5 cm (5 1/2 inches)
- The Edward Wrangham Collection of Japanese and Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. Edward Wrangham (1928-2009). Ted Wrangham was born in London and educated at Eaton, then later at Magdalene College Cambridge. In 1957 he took up farming in Northumberland and championed environmental causes in the north east of England. His grandfather was the esteemed collector Stephen Winkworth, his uncle William (Billy) Winkworth, another important collector of Chinese Ceramics. The seeds of his interest were sown early, Stephen Winkworth presented him with a netsuke when he was only eight years old. His interest in Japanese and Chinese art led him to collect, he purchased his collection from a range of sources, including many pieces from his grandfather's (Stephen Winkworth) collection when they were sold by Sotheby's in the early 1970's. While his taste was eclectic it was highly educated, the cultural history of the objects in his collection was something that fascinated him. He wrote extensively about oriental art, including the private printing of an important reference book in 1995, The Index of Inro Artists.
- Stock number
This Ming Porcelain bowl appears to be from a shipwreck as does the Interregnum leaping carp dish stock number 19504 in our Archive. It is possible both come from the same shipwreck as porcelain from this period is quite rare. I have seen photographs of Ming Interregnum porcelain from the wreck of the Hoi An said to have been used by the crew, but as yet there is no known connection between the present example and the Hoi An Hoard. The Interregnum Period includes the Reigns of Zhengtong 1436-1449 Jingtai 1450-1456 and Tianshun 1457-1464. The first and last are the same emperor Zhu Qizhen, he came back to power but changed his title name from Zhengtong meaning Right Government to Tianshun meaning Obedient to Heaven.
Zhu Qizhen was the son of the Xuande Emperor Zhu Zhanji and his Empress Sun. At the beginning of Zhengtong's reign, the Ming dynasty was prosperous and at the height of its power as a result of Xuande Emperor's able administration. Zhengtong's accession at the age of eight makes him the first child emperor of the dynasty hence Zhengtong was easily influenced by others, namely his eunuch Wang Zhen. Zhengtong thoroughly relied on Zhen for advice and guidance.
House Arrest and Second Reign.
The Zhengtong Emperor was released one year later in 1450 but when he returned to China, he was immediately put under house arrest by his brother for almost seven years. He resided in the southern palace of the Forbidden city and all outside contacts were severely curtailed by the Jingtai Emperor. Zhengtong's son (later Emperor Chenghua) was stripped of the title of crown prince and replaced by Jingtai's own son. This act greatly upset and devastated Zhengtong but the heir apparent died shortly thereafter. Overcome with grief, the Jingtai Emperor fell ill and Zhengtong decided to depose Jingtai by a palace coup which eventually reinstalled Zhu Qizhen as emperor, who renamed his second reign Tianshun ("heavenly obedience") and went on to rule for another seven years.
On 6 August 1461, the Tianshun Emperor issued an edict warning his subjects to be loyal to the throne and not to violate the laws. This was a veiled threat aimed at the general Cao Qin (d. 1461), who had become embroiled in a controversy when he had one of his retainers kill a man whom Ming authorities were attempting to interrogate (to find out about Cao's illegal foreign business transactions). On 7 August 1461, General Cao Qin and his cohorts of Mongol descent attempted a coup against the Tianshun Emperor. However, during the first hours of the morning of 7 August, prominent Ming Mongol generals, Wu Jin and Wu Cong, were alerted of the coup and immediately relayed a warning to the emperor. Although alarmed, the emperor and his court made preparations for a conflict and barred the gates of the palace. During the ensuing onslaught in the capital later that morning, the Minister of Works and the Commander of the Imperial Guard were killed, while the rebels set the gates of the Forbidden City on fire. The eastern and western gates of the imperial city were only saved when pouring rains came and extinguished the fires. The fight lasted for nearly the entire day within the city; during which three of Cao Qin's brothers were killed, and Qin himself received wounds to both arms. With the failure of the coup, in order to escape being executed, Qin fled to his residence and committed suicide by jumping down a well within the walled compound of his home.
The Tianshun Emperor died at the age of 37 in 1464 and was buried in the Yuling tomb of the Ming Dynasty Tombs.
INFORMATION FROM : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhengtong_Emperor