Vase with poems in a panoramic landscape


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 203

This vase is a unique memento of a literary gathering at the ceramic production center Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, in the 1690s. Its surface is richly decorated with figure groups and local scenic sites, all rendered with precision and sensitivity. Most remarkable are the transcriptions of an essay and ten poems that grace the sky and the rock faces. Collectively they relate a true story of strangers becoming friends across traditional class boundaries. A visiting official named Shang Ancun, known for his poems on local scenery, met two local scholars who presented their own poems on the subject, and friendship was born. In their company was a master potter also adept at poetry and painting. He painted the vase, including the transcriptions of poems composed on the occasion (one by him), thereby transforming a private exchange into a lasting artwork.

Vase with poems in a panoramic landscape, Porcelain painted with cobalt blue under transparent glaze (Jingdezhen ware), China

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