BW-06016     Hexagon vase with underglaze-blue decoration of inverted

                             frames and incised flowers

Ming Dynasty, Ching-Te-Cheng, Exported porcelain. Inscription reads “Ta Ming Hsüan-te Nien Chih” (Made in the Hsüan-te Reign of the Great Ming), ca. 1426-1435.
Height: 50.3cm, Mouth diameter: 7.2cm, Foot diameter: 15.7cm, Interior foot height: 2.2cm, Weight: 6830g
This ware has been cleansed with Oxalic Acid to remove dirt and viscidities to restore its original luster for collection and preservation.


Six layers of decoration from top to bottom: elegant fungus scroll pattern on the cap; chrysanthemum, peony, lotus, and inverted frames on the body. 

Gorgeous indigo-blue underglaze attributed to high concentration of ferric oxide content in the imported pigment, Su-ma-li blue. Clusters of grayish black iron rust embedded in the clay at thickly glazed regions creating an uneven surface. 

White glaze is thick and diffused with greenish tint. 

This underglaze-blue porcelain was exported exclusively to Islam regions. Not only the design shows Islamic characteristics from West Asia, but the pear-shape is also commonly found throughout Mid-East and West Asia.

Glazing stops at the mouth interior with no traces found further inside the vase.

 The glaze accumulated on the mouth and wall interior is light green and untreated.

Chrysanthemum is a common floral motif practiced on underglaze-blue porcelains. It is often featured on a dish or vase. 

Chrysanthemum designs in Yuan dynasty are mostly single-layered.  However, chrysanthemums drawn after Hong-wu, Yung-lo, and Hsüan-te in Ming dynasty consist of two layers: a mix of colored or non-colored petals surround the ones decorated with white lines.

Six-character horizontal script mark: “Ta Ming Hsüan-te Nien Chih” (made in the Hsüan-te Reign of the Great Ming).  

Distinctive reign mark characteristics from Hsüan-te period include,

1)      The second and third strokes of “Hsüan” (third character from right) are parallel.

2)   The fourth stroke of “Nieh” (second word from left) is written as a dot slanting to the right instead of a straight line.

The foot-ring is pared even and flat, unique to porcelains made during Hsüan-te period.

 Brownish black sesame spots are found at unglazed areas.


Green and yellowish-brown iron rust on the glaze surface are residues of ferric oxide in the pigment.

Glittering air bubbles of various sizes underneath the thick layer of glaze.

The clay appears white, firm and smooth with little impurity. The raw materials used for porcelain production in Hsüan-te period are much more refined in comparison to those used in Yuan dynasty.