Ceramic Kendi (blue and white floral)

Date: Unknown
Geography: China
Culture: Ming Dynasty
Medium: Porcelain painted with cobalt blue under transparent glaze
Dimensions: H: 8 in D: 6in
Accession Number: 2013.INV.277

The Ming Dynasty ruled China for almost 300 years, and followed the fall of the Yuan Dynasty when Zhu Yuanzhang claimed "The Mandate of Heaven," and the throne. It was a period of tremendous growth, due largely to the expansion of private and European trade. The Dynasty fell after rebellions and attacks by the Manchu. However, the Ming Dynasty is known for the flourish of the arts, especially ceramics and porcelain, which soon became a highly desired object of trade during the Dynasty. One such example of export porcelain was the kendi. Kendis, such as this example, were drinking vessels that were created to be exported primarily to Southeast Asia and Europe. This kendi exhibits the typical bulbous, round body shape of other vessels of this type. It has a long cylinder neck with a flaring rim, which would have made holding it to pour much easier to accomplish. There is also a mammiform spout that is characteristic of the vessels of this type. The object is beautifully decorated with blue underglaze on white porcelain. The entire body of the piece is decorated with a beautiful use of negative and positive space by the use of registers, as well as with the rich floral designs that cover the vessel. The geometric designs enhance the design scheme of the blossoms, as well as creating a sense of uniformity in the overall design.