Dish with flowering gardenia, Ming dynasty, Hongzhi mark and period, AD 1488–1505

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Dish with flowering gardenia, Ming dynasty, Hongzhi mark and period, AD 1488–1505, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration and yellow glaze. Height: 47 mm, Diameter: 264 mm. Sir Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, PDF A773 © 2017 Trustees of the British Museum

Porcelain dish. Decorated inside with gardenia floral spray in the centre and sprays of pomegranate, persimmon, grapevine and lotus in the cavetto. Gardenia scrolls on the exterior. All motifs painted in underglaze blue on yellow overglaze enamel ground. There is a mark on the base. 

This design, invented in the early fifteenth century, was made continuously for one hundred years at Jingdezhen with minor variations and later was revived in the Qing dynasty (AD 1644–1911). The dish is decorated inside with gardenia and sprays of pomegranate, persimmon, grapevine and lotus in the cavetto. The branches have ragged ends, following a well-known convention, indicating they were broken from a tree. On the exterior are gardenia scrolls and a six-character Hongzhi reign mark written on the base.