Blue and white pair of Meiping with covers

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Ming Dynasty, Wanli period, 1579 - 1628
27.5 cm

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This pair of meiping is decorated extensively with freely painted floral motifs. The broad-shouldered body is rising from a recessed base to a short neck with an everted rim, with a tapering cover. The base of the vases is decorated with high petal lappets, on the body are a couple of large flowers, surrounded by floral motifs, and the shoulder is decorated with ruyi shaped cartouches with flowers. The covers are painted with ruyi and have a lotus bud finial, the top of the cover is painted with a flower motif.

Meiping vases, or plum vases, are used to gracefully hold a single branch of plum tree blossoms. They were originally used during the Tang Dynasty as a wine vessel, but with  the Song Dynasty the use as plum vase became popular, a use that was sustained into the Ming Dynasty. The shape of the vase is said to be inspired by the female body, with a small base and a broad body. 


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