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Vase (Meiping) with Eight Daoist Immortals

Artist/maker unknown, Chinese

Geography:
Made in China, Asia

Period:
Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)

Date:
Mid- 14th century

Medium:
Glazed stoneware with mold-impressed relief decoration; Longquan ware

Dimensions:
10 x 7 inches (25.4 x 17.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

* Gallery 235, Asian Art, second floor

Accession Number:
1964-58-1

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. S. Emlen Stokes, 1964

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Label:
The Eight Immortals—Daoist symbols of longevity and happiness—are depicted in inset panels around this vase. During the Yuan dynasty, this group of legendary figures was featured in literature and plays, accounting for its popularity in the visual arts. The panels were covered with wax before the vase was dipped in glaze and fired. When the wax melted away in the kiln, they turned the brick red color seen here—the result of the re-oxidization of the clay as it cooled.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    This octagonal vase is one of only a handful of such vessels that combine a lustrous gray-green celadon glaze with unglazed red-brown panels. The process used to produce these wares is very exacting and difficult, which may explain why it was only used on a limited number of works. To achieve the bold contrast of colors and textures, Chinese potters developed a new technique: after the entire vase was formed, eight of the twenty-four molded decorative panels on its surface were covered with wax, and a celadon glaze was applied to the whole piece. When the vase was fired in the kiln, the glaze turned the green color known as celadon, while the wax melted from the panels, leaving them to turn the soft reddish brown hue of the clay itself. The figures on the panels represent the Eight Immortals of Chinese Taoist philosophy. Felice Fischer, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 29.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.

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