Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Jiajing mark and period (1522–66)
late 16th century
Porcelain painted with cobalt blue under transparent glaze (Jingdezhen ware)
H. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm); Diam. of rim 7 1/16 in. (17.9 cm); Diam. of foot 4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm)
Purchase, Sir Joseph Hotung Gift, 2005
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 204
Plum blossoms, which are among the first plants to flower in the early spring, are often associated with the evergreen pine and bamboo and are known as the Three Friends of Winter, a motif symbolic of Confucian virtues such as endurance, modesty, and fortitude. The shape of the dish and the style of decoration are characteristics often associated with works made for the court in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.