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As if tossed by a random breeze, more than one hundred stylized blossoms enliven the pure white porcelain of this finely potted vase. An underglaze seal script inscription on the base reads "made in the Qianlong reign of the great Qing dynasty." Porcelain—hard, translucent vitreous, high-fired ceramics that are the triumph of kiln technology—were first made in China. But the casual elegance of the decoration on this pot was meant to appeal to Japanese tastes. Ceramics with decoration like this began to be made in China for export to Japan in the eighteenth century.

More information on this object can be found in the Gallery publication Decorative Arts, Part II: Far Eastern Ceramics and Paintings, Persian and Indian Rugs and Carpets, which is available as a free PDF


in seal script on the base in underglaze blue in three columns of two characters each: Da Qing Qianlong nian zhi (made in the Qianlong reign of the great Qing dynasty)


(Yamanaka, New York); sold to Harry G. Steele [1881-1942], Pasadena; his widow, Grace C. Steele [d. 1974]; gift 1972 to NGA.

Technical Summary

The vase is well potted and has a colorless glaze. The foot-ring is rounded, with a glazed and recessed base. There is a small hairline crack at the lip.

Bower, Virginia, Josephine Hadley Knapp, Stephen Little, and Robert Wilson Torchia. Decorative Arts, Part II: Far Eastern Ceramics and Paintings; Persian and Indian Rugs and Carpets. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1998: 225, color repro.
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