National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Baluster Vase with Dragon Handles Chinese Ming Dynasty (artist)
Baluster Vase with Dragon Handles, Wanli period, 1573/1620
porcelain with green glaze
overall: 39.9 x 13.9 cm (15 11/16 x 5 1/2 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.532
On View
From the Tour: Chinese Porcelains
Object 2 of 24

Conservation Notes

The white porcelain body is covered with an emerald green glaze. Joint lines show prominently at the base of the neck and at mid-body, and faint indications of joints are visible at the waist and at mid-neck 1. The interior appears to have an opaque white glaze, as does the base, which is slightly recessed. The beveled low foot is unglazed and rough. There is an adhesion scar on the shoulder from crowding in the kiln, and some glaze skips are found on the mane of the dragon to the right of the inscription. The glaze is slightly streaked, with some dark flecks and a few blue drips. There are evanescent indications of the former all-over gold surface decoration in the form of iridescent marks caused by changes in surface gloss. Some traces of gold remain in small depressions.

1. Hajime Kato, a Japanese ceramist famous for his technical virtuosity, examined this piece in 1957. He noted that the piece is made from molds in five sections. He commented further that, contrary to some published descriptions, the design was not incised under the glaze, but had been painted in gold that has since worn off, and that the adhesive from the gold is what remains to be seen (conversation with the author, 27 August 1963, in NGA curatorial files).

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