Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period (1736–95)
Porcelain with low-relief decoration under dark blue glaze
H. 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1925
Not on view
These vessels (25.143.1–.3) were used in state rituals held in the first lunar month of the year, during which the emperor made offerings to heaven at the Altar for Bountiful Harvest (Qigutan), part of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
In shape and decoration, these ceramic vessels—a gui and two dou—are modeled on bronze grain receptacles of the Eastern Zhou dynasty (770–256 B.C.), which would have formed part of a larger set of objects, employed in ritual offerings, that included containers for wine and meat. In later times, ceramic took the place of bronze, and vessels were color-coded according to one of four ritual altars at which the emperor conducted ceremonies: blue for heaven, yellow for earth, red for the sun, and white for the moon.
Marking: Qianlong mark
[ Bluett & Sons Ltd. , London, until 1925; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Douglas Dillon Legacy: Chinese Painting for the Metropolitan Museum," March 12, 2004–August 8, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of the Brush: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy," March 12, 2005–August 14, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Emperor's Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City," February 1, 2011–May 1, 2011.