Cloisonné Jar, c. 1426-1435 AD
Metal and enamel
62 (height) x 55.9 (diameter) cm
Beijing, China


Commissioned by the Xuande Emperor in the early years of the Ming Dynasty in China, this large jar and cover was probably displayed in the Imperial Palace. The dragons depicted on the vessel are references to the Emperor’s authority.
China’s increased global engagement contributed to cultural diversity and flourishing creativity throughout the Ming period. The elaborate cloisonné enameling technique employed on this jar illustrates the exchange of skills with Middle Eastern and possibly European artisans, as well as advancements in craft technologies developed in this period.
A time-consuming and labor intensive process, cloisonné enameling eventually produces a brightly-colored decoration, whose flamboyant splendor was deemed appropriate for the decoration of the large halls of temples and palaces.


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