VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Cup
DUROM.1969.141
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This stem cup has had a life as a used vessel, subject to wear, tear and breakage, but nevertheless remains intact. The journey from the Jingdezhen pottery during the Yuan Dynasty has lasted several centuries, bringing to us this object of enduring beauty still to be admired today.

History of the Object
This cup was produced at Jingdezhen, the acknowledged centre of the Chinese porcelain industry. Porcelainware production was industrialised and different workers were responsible for separate processes. The bowl was thrown on a wheel, while the stem was created separately. While the clay was still sufficiently workable, the bowl was pressed onto a mould carved with the design of the five-clawed dragon pursuing a flaming pearl, then carefully pared down to thin the wall of the bowl sufficiently to ensure translucency. The bowl and stem are joined by a coil of clay, part of which is clearly visible in the inside of the stem at the join. The glaze would most likely be applied to the unfired pot - requiring skill from long experience to avoid the pot collapsing when wet - and then was fired.

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Type
Ceramics 
Materials
Porcelain with white glaze 
Measurements
diameter 13.7cm, height 12.4cm 
Creator name
Chinese 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 13th century ~ AD 14th century 
Creation date
13th Century - 14th Century; Yuan Dynasty, 1279-1368 CE 
Function
The delicate stem cup form was a new shape derived from the Mongolian taste of the then rulers of China, and became established in the potter’s repertoire of later periods. Intended as a wine cup, it originated as wine making developed in China. 
Acquisition
Gift from the Rt Hon Malcolm MacDonald in 1969 
Copyright
Copyright owned by Durham University Oriental Museum 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Owned by Durham University Oriental Museum 
Museum
Oriental Museum 
Credit line
Gift from the Rt Hon Malcolm MacDonald 

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