Kendi, Jingdezhen, Ming dynasty, Hongwu period (1368-1398)

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Kendi, Jingdezhen, Ming dynasty, Hongwu period (1368-1398). Porcelain painted in underglaze red. Height: 15.3 cm, Width: 16 cm. Sir Percival David Gift, Museum no. C.54-1937 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2017.

A kendi was originally a pure water container carried by travelling Buddhist monks. It later became a domestic drinking vessel.

In the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) Jingdezhen became the major ceramic-manufacturing centre. Imperial kilns were established to produce fine porcelain for the exclusive use of the emperors. The tradition of inscribing the emperor's reign title on the wares also started in the Ming. This pure water vessel (kendi) painted in underglaze red is typical of the Hongwu reign period.