Blue and White Ovoid Jar, Chongzhen Period (1628-1644)
Chinese blue and white ovoid jar, Chongzhen period (1628-1644), on a straight foot and rising to a short, slightly flared upright neck, painted around the exterior in washy cobalt tones with scholars in a rocky landscape with plantains and bamboo all between incised scrolling floral borders;
height: 15.8 cm. ( 6 3/16in.),),
neatly repaired shallow chip to rim and a very short fine hair-crack to rim sealed; height: 15.8 cm. ( 6 3/16in.
Literati scholars had been figures of transformation, self-expression and moral virtuosity since the Song dynasty. Free from the confines of artistic schools and the necessity of making a living through their work, these figures considered themselves ideal observers of the workings of moral law in nature. Thus, representations on porcelain of scholars within landscapes, removed from society and the political intrigues of court, were common. They were also often associated with bamboo, as the plant, which can bend with the wind but never breaks, represents moral integrity and unbreakable principles. During the political upheaval of the late Ming and early Qing, literati-themed wares became popular, as the notions of traditional value and stability associated with the ancient scholars offered a connection to an idealised past.
Provenance: The Martin Robert Morland CMG (1933-2020) collection, friend of fellow collector Sir Michael Butler. Purchased from Gordon Hand, London on 14th May 1975.