© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Like the Charger with Peacock Decoration displayed nearby, this large dish was likely fashioned for a foreign buyer, as wares of this shape and size were not traditionally used in China. Its decorative motif, however, of a double peony with one blossom up and the other down, is Chinese. A floral scroll of blossoming lotuses interspersed with lotus leaves occupies the inner walls, while designs of flowering and fruiting branches decorate the rim. This pattern is relatively rare (one of the few other published examples comes from a set of chargers in the Ardebil Shrine in Tehran), but the exceptional quality of the painting on this piece is even more remarkable.

Jingdezhen blue-and-white porcelain produced during the Yongle (1403–24) and Xuande (1426–35) reigns is considered the finest, most desirable blue-and-white ware ever made because of its radiant glaze, superb porcelain body, magnificent cobalt-blue color, and expertly rendered painted decoration. Although many of the early fifteenth-century wares produced at Jingdezhen were created for the Chinese imperial court, some were made specifically for export to wealthy clients in the Islamic world.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Deep Circular Charger with Everted Lip and Blossoming Peony Decor
Work Type
early 15th century (probably Yongle period)
Creation Place: East Asia, China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen
Ming dynasty, 1368-1644
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Blue-and-white ware: porcelain with decoration painted in underglaze cobalt blue
H. 7.0 x Diam. 40.5 cm (2 3/4 x 15 15/16 in.)
Richard Bryant Hobart, Cambridge, MA (by 1963), by inheritance; to Mabel Hobart Wentworth, Washington DC (1963–1969), sold; through [Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, December 1969], sold; through [Spink and Son, London, 1969]; to F. Gordon and Elizabeth Hunter Morrill Collection, Boston/ Del Ray, Florida/ Florence, Italy, (1969–2003), sold; to [Doyle Galleries, New York, September 2003], sold; to [S. Marchant & Son, London, September 2003–March 2005], sold; to [Chinese Porcelain Company, New York, March–August 2005], sold; to Harvard University Art Museum, August 2005.

1. Richard Bryant Hobart (1885–1963), Harvard College Class of 1906
2. Mabel "Muffie" Hobart Wentworth Brandon Cabot (b. 1936), daughter of Richard Bryant Hobart and Janet Elliott Wulsin (1894–1963)
3. Ferdinand Gordon Morrill (1910–2000)
4. Elizabeth Hunter Morrill (1912–2003)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase through the generosity of the Ralph C. Marcove International Understanding Through Arts and Crafts Foundation
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Publication History

The Richard Bryant Hobart Collection of Chinese Ceramics & Paintings, Part Two, auct. cat., Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc. (New York, 1969), pp. 40-41, no. 214

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2005-2006 (Cambridge, MA, 2007), p. 13

Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), p. 54

Exhibition History

Cultivating Virtue: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/08/2006 - 04/08/2007

Downtime, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/28/2007 - 04/20/2008

Re-View: S228-230 Arts of Asia, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/31/2008 - 06/01/2013

Re-View: S228-230 (Asian rotation: 6), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/24/2011 - 11/12/2011

Cultivating Virtue: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/12/2012 - 06/01/2013

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu