Flower Vase in the Form of an Archaic Bronze 'Zun' Wine Beaker with Dragon-and-Wave Decor, perhaps Chenghua period (1465-1487), Ming dynasty, 1368-1644

Flower Vase in the Form of an Archaic Bronze 'Zun' Wine Beaker with Dragon-and-Wave Decor, perhaps Chenghua period (1465-1487), Ming dynasty, 1368-1644. Blue-and-white ware: porcelain with decoration painted in underglaze cobalt blue. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David Berg, Esq., 1999.230.7 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

The Harvard Art Museums hold the largest and finest collection in the West of a rare and strikingly beautiful type of ceramic ware used in the private quarters of the Forbidden City, the Chinese imperial palace in Beijing. These numbered Jun wares—so named because each is marked on its base with a single Chinese numeral—have long been admired for their fine potting, distinctive shapes, and radiant purple and blue glazes. Opinions on these vessels’ dates of origin vary widely, and given the scarcity of numbered Jun in most museum collections, a comprehensive study of this unusual ware has never been undertaken outside the imperial collections in China and Taiwan.

Drawn entirely from the museums’ permanent collections, this exhibition introduces the typology, technical characteristics, collecting history, and controversies surrounding numbered Jun ware. It features approximately half of the museums’ 60 numbered Jun, all of which were given to Harvard in 1942 by Boston-area collectors Ernest B. Dane (Harvard College Class of 1892) and his wife Helen Pratt Dane. This exhibition marks the 75th anniversary of the Danes’ extraordinary gift of nearly 300 Chinese ceramics and later jades. It is also the first focused exhibition of their unique collection of palace Jun ware since it came to Harvard. The exhibition will be complemented by an online special collections feature that provides further contextualization and analytical research on Harvard’s entire numbered Jun collection.

Curated by Melissa A. Moy, the Alan J. Dworsky Associate Curator of Chinese Art at the Harvard Art Museums.

The exhibition and online special collections feature are funded in part by the Gregory and Maria Henderson Fund and by generous support from Terry and William Carey.

May 20, 2017–August 13, 2017. University Teaching Gallery, Harvard Art Museums.

Cylindrical Censer with Three Small Cabriole Legs, Northern Song to Jin period, 12th century

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Cylindrical Censer with Three Small Cabriole Legs, Northern Song to Jin period, 12th century. Jun ware: light gray stoneware with robin's-egg blue glaze. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Alpheus Hyatt Purchasing Fund and Leslie Cheek, Jr. Fund, 1997.126 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Zhadou-Shaped Flowerpot with Globular Body and Flaring Mouth, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Zhadou-Shaped Flowerpot with Globular Body and Flaring Mouth, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 5 (wu) inscribed inside the footring before firing and incised on the base after firing. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.40 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Flower Vase in the Form of an Archaic Bronze 'Zun' Vessel with Flanges, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Flower Vase in the Form of an Archaic Bronze 'Zun' Vessel with Flanges, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze, the domed base with a turquoise blue glaze, the rim banded with metal. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.58 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Bracketed Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Lobed Flowerpot with Bracketed Foliate RimMing dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 3 (san) inscribed on base before firing. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.4 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Bracketed Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century (1)

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Lobed Flowerpot with Bracketed Foliate RimMing dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 1 (yi) inscribed on base before firing; "Hall of Mental Cultivation" (Yangxin dian) inscription incised on base at a later dateHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.1 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 10 (shi) inscribed on base before firing; "Hall of Mental Cultivation" (Yangxin dian) inscription incised on base at a later date. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.27 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Circular Basin with Drum-Nail Decor and Three Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Circular Basin with Drum-Nail Decor and Three Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 1 (yi) inscribed on base before firing. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.42 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

flowerpot 1942

flowerpot 1942.185.36 and basin 1942.185.42 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Rectangular Basin with Notched Corners and Four Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Rectangular Basin with Notched Corners and Four Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 10 (shi) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.29 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Flowerpot (1942

Flowerpot (1942.185.26) and matching basin (1942.185.29) © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Small Censer in the Form of an Archaic Bronze 'Ding' Tripod Vessel, Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century

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Small Censer in the Form of an Archaic Bronze 'Ding' Tripod Vessel, Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century. Jun ware: light gray stoneware with robin's-egg blue glaze. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane Fund for the Acquisition of Oriental Art, 1995.59 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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 Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 1 (yi) inscribed on base before firing; "Hall of Mental Cultivation" (Yangxin dian) inscription incised on base at a later date. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.15 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Elongated Hexagonal Flowerpot with Six Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Elongated Hexagonal Flowerpot with Six Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 9 (jiu) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.32.1 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century (1)

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Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 1 (yi) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.8 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Bracketed Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Lobed Flowerpot with Bracketed Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 3 (san) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.5 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century (10)

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Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated magenta and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 10 (shi) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.24 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Quatrefoil Basin with Four Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Lobed Quatrefoil Basin with Four Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated magenta and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 10 (shi) inscribed on base before firing. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.24 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Quatrefoil Flowerpot with Four Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Lobed Quatrefoil Flowerpot with Four Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated magenta and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 1 (yi) inscribed on base before firing; "Palace of Double Glory (Chonghua gong) inscription incised on base at a later dateHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.56.1 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Flowerpot (1942

Flowerpot (1942.185.56.1) and matching basin (1942.185.56.2) © President and Fellows of Harvard College

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Openwork Cover with Chrysanthemum Design for Compressed Globular Perfumer (1942.185.60.A), Japan, late Edo to Meiji period, 19th century. Silver. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.60.B © President and Fellows of Harvard College

vessel 1942

vessel 1942.185.60.A and lid 1942.185.60.B (paired later) © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Small Circular Wine Bowl with Purple Splashes, Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century

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Small Circular Wine Bowl with Purple Splashes, Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century. Splashed Jun ware: light gray stoneware with robin's-egg blue glaze enlivened with purple suffusions from copper filings. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.63 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Bracketed Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century (9)

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Lobed Flowerpot with Bracketed Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated magenta and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 9 (jiu) inscribed on base before firing; "Palace of Established Happiness" (Jianfu gong) inscription incised on base at a later dateHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.7 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Basin with Bracketed Foliate Rim and Three Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644

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Lobed Basin with Bracketed Foliate Rim and Three Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 3 (san) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.1 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Flowerpot (1942

Flowerpot (1942.185.5) and matching basin (1942.185.51) © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Quatrefoil Basin with Four Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century (1)

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Lobed Quatrefoil Basin with Four Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated magenta and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 1 (yi) inscribed on base before firing; "Palace of Double Glory (Chonghua gong) inscription incised on base at a later dateHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.56.2 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Flowerpot (1942

Flowerpot (1942.185.56.1) and matching basin (1942.185.56.2) © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Inverted Bell-Shaped Flowerpot with Flaring Lip, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Inverted Bell-Shaped Flowerpot with Flaring Lip, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 4 (si) inscribed on base before firing; “Palace of Double Glory” (Chunghua gong) inscription incised on base at a later dateHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.57 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Circular Basin with Drum-Nail Decor and Three Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century (1)

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Circular Basin with Drum-Nail Decor and Three Cloud Scroll Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 1 (yi) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.43 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Perfumer or Incense Burner Cut Down from a Zhadou-Shaped Flowerpot, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Perfumer or Incense Burner Cut Down from a Zhadou-Shaped Flowerpot, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated dark purple and blue glaze with metal fitting at the mouth; originally a 'zhadou'-shaped flower pot with the Chinese numeral 10 (shi) impressed into the base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.60.A © President and Fellows of Harvard College

vessel 1942

vessel 1942.185.60.A and lid 1942.185.60.B (paired later) © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Small Circular Wine Bowl with Purple Splashes, Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century (2)

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Small Circular Wine Bowl with Purple Splashes, Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century. Splashed Jun ware: light gray stoneware with robin's-egg blue glaze enlivened with purple suffusions from copper filings. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.65 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Circular Flat Dish with Everted Lip and Purple Splashes, Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century

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Circular Flat Dish with Everted Lip and Purple Splashes,  Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century. Jun ware: light gray stoneware with robin's-egg blue glaze enlivened with purple suffusions from copper filingsHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.72 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Circular Flat Dish with Everted Lip and Purple Rim, Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century

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Circular Flat Dish with Everted Lip and Purple Rim,  Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th century. Jun ware: light gray stoneware with robin's-egg blue glaze enlivened with purple suffusions from copper filingsHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.71 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated magenta and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 1 (yi) inscribed on base before firing; "Hall of Mental Cultivation" (Yangxin dian) inscription incised on base at a later dateHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.16 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 3 (san) inscribed on base before firing; "Palace of Double Glory" (Chonghua gong) inscription incised on base at a later dateHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.9 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 10 (shi) inscribed on base before firing; "Hall of Mental Cultivation" (Yangxin dian) inscription incised on base at a later dateHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.21 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 10 (shi) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.22 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Zhadou-Shaped Flowerpot with Globular Body and Flaring Mouth, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Zhadou-Shaped Flowerpot with Globular Body and Flaring MouthMing dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 1 (yi) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.36 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

flowerpot 1942

flowerpot 1942.185.36 and basin 1942.185.42 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Elongated Hexagonal Basin with Six Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century

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Elongated Hexagonal Basin with Six Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 7 (qi) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.32.2 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Zhadou-Shaped Flowerpot with Globular Body and Flaring Mouth, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Zhadou-Shaped Flowerpot with Globular Body and Flaring MouthMing dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 3 (san) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.37 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate RimMing dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 7 (qi) inscribed on base before firing; "Hall of Mental Cultivation" (Yangxin dian) inscription incised on base at a later dateHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.13 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small Feet, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Rectangular Flowerpot with Four Small FeetMing dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 10 (shi) inscribed on base before firingHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.26 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Flowerpot (1942

Flowerpot (1942.185.26) and matching basin (1942.185.29) © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Lobed Flowerpot with Foliate Rim, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century. Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 6 (liu) inscribed on base before firing. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.11 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Small Circular Wine Bowl with Purple Splashes, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, probably 15th century, 1942

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Small Circular Wine Bowl with Purple Splashes, Jin dynasty, 1115-1234, 12th-13th centurySplashed Jun ware: light gray stoneware with robin's-egg blue glaze enlivened with purple suffusions from copper filingsHarvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, 1942.185.68 © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Zhadou-Shaped Vase with Dragons and Scrolling Flower Decor, Zhengde period, 1506-1521, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644

Zhadou-Shaped Vase with Dragons and Scrolling Flower Decor, Zhengde period, 1506-1521, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644

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Zhadou-Shaped Vase with Dragons and Scrolling Flower Decor, Zhengde period, 1506-1521, Ming dynasty, 1368-1644. Enameled blue-and-white ware: porcelain with decoration in underglaze cobalt blue, the background areas embellished later with overglaze red enamel; underglaze cobalt blue mark reading "Zhengde nian zhi" within a double circle on the base. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Samuel C. Davis, 1940.246 © President and Fellows of Harvard College