Chinese Ming Dynasty Blue & White Porcelain Covered Box - Bird
This attractive porcelain box was made during the Wanli reign (1573 - 1620) of the Ming Dynasty. It is quite "heavily-potted" and both upper and lower parts have a ribbed wall. The underglaze blue pattern of good colour features a bird sitting within a spray of prunus (or plum), this being a symbol of life.
Diameter 8 cm. There are minor chips to the edge of the lower section but overall this very nice box is in good condition with no repair or restoration.
Note: it was believed that small jars and boxes such as this had healing properties and quite often the rims and/or edges have had small pieces carefully broken off which were then ground down and added to food as medicine. Whether or not this was done here or the chips are damage from use is not known, although the nature of the chips does suggest the damage was intentional.
A similar box but with a moulded bird and tree pattern as opposed to underglaze blue, is shown in the fine book "Vietnamese and Chinese Ceramics Used in the Japanese tea Ceremony" by Hiromu Honda & Noriki Shimazu (ISBN 0195886070).
This item is part of a recently acquired old English collection comprising mostly Ming Dynasty blue & white porcelain but also including a few earlier celadons and some South-East Asian ceramics.
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