Yuan Dynasty Art

Chinese Art: Yuan Dynasty "mei-p'ing" Porcelain Vase
Chinese Art: Yuan Dynasty "mei-p'ing" Porcelain Vase
Eight-faceted porcelain vase of mei-p'ing shape, with a lid, decorated in underglaze blue with Dragons in waves, excavated in 1964 at Pao-ting, Hopei.Height 51.5 cm

Yuan dynasty: 14th century AD

In a hoard of porcelain evidently buried by its owner for safety this vase accompanied three other blue-and-white pieces. Its shape and ornament are unique among the blue-and-white porcelains known from the fourteenth century. The combination of incised design (the bodies of the dragons) with painting in blue had not previously been observed.1

Please see Dragons In Islamic and Chinese Art

The Genius of China
"The Genius of China" 

An exhibition of archaeological finds of the People's Republic of China held at the Royal Academy, London by permission of the President and Council from 29 September 1973 to 23 January 1974 Sponsored by The Times and Sunday Times in association with the Royal Academy and the Great Britain/China Committee

Yuan Dynasty White Porcelain Vase
Yuan Dynasty White Porcelain Vase
Yuan Dynasty White Porcelain Vase
White porcelain vase and cover with underglaze decoration of leaf sprays and floral motifs in various panels, excavated in 1961 in the Hai-tien sector of Peking.

Height 66 cm

Yuan dynasty: late 14th century AD

This unparalleled vase was found outside the Te-sheng gate. The greyish colour of the design suggests that copper is the basis of the underglaze pigment, some specks of red confirming this for the lid, The delicate floral design is more characteristic of the early Ming period, and this piece may have been made after 1368.

"The Genius of China"

"The Genius of China"
An exhibition of archaeological finds of the People's Republic of China held at the Royal Academy, London by permission of the President and Council from 29 September 1973 to 23 January 1974 Sponsored by The Times and Sunday Times in association with the Royal Academy and the Great Britain/China Committee.


Considerations of Form and Function in Mughal Carpet Attributions
Considerations of Form and Function in Mughal Carpet Attributions
"Flowers Under Foot" is a tremendous book with a wealth of information. Daniel Walker has done a masterful job of pulling it together and on the whole his book "Flowers Under Foot is the single best book in its field. There are a few minor points that leave me with questions. So, let me raise a few minor points about a book that I greatly admire. Walker shows a most unusual carpet as his figure 97 1. The fragmentary carpet is not rectangular and the main border intrudes in an uncharacteristic way through the field. It is wool pile with cotton foundation except for silk secondary wefts. Walker speculates that perhaps this was show divisions in a tent or had some ceremonial purpose. Walker seems on eminently solid ground on this point when suddenly he veers off with an unsubstantiated comment that leaves me wondering.
Walker suggests that if Pashmina carpets can be considered Imperial grade than this carpet may be considered "Sub-Imperial". This raises a point that I would like to question. Can we reasonably assume that the soft supple velvet like Pashmina carpets represent Imperial Grade while carpets such as this can automatically attributed to a lesser status because of construction. I raise this point because details such as fineness of weave and artistic detail may seem the paramount consideration and the concept of form following function may be set aside.

Let us assume that Walker was correct in his theory that this may have been a tent carpet. Which would make a better tent carpet a Pashmina and silk, or a wool and cotton, carpet? During my study of Mughal Carpets, I have attempted to see if there was a practical consideration to the type of construction used in the various carpets. One point that became obvious was that for outdoor or tent use the soft velvet like handle of a Pashmina Carpet would not be as suitable for use as a heavier, thicker, stiffer carpet. The wool carpet pictured has heavy cotton warps and lighter but still very sturdy cotton primary and tertiary wefts while the secondary weft is of silk. What do you gain with that construction? The heavy warps are rigid and the primary and tertiary wefts are rigid. This type of construction forces the warps on to two levels while the primary and tertiary wefts remain on one level. The secondary silk weft is sinuous and serves to hold the rug together. This rug would be much thicker and heavier than a Pashmina carpet. Even allowing for Imperial grade site preparation it would seem that the wool carpet holds a distinct edge that forces us to reconsider the Sub-Imperial label

I suggest that velvet like Pashmina and silk carpets hold a distinct edge when they are used on a solid floor. However, for outdoor use and for camping the heavier rug holds an edge. So, let me suggest that it does not seem reasonable to attribute these, as Sub-Imperial until their function is determined.

N.B. I do not mean in any way to denigrate Daniel Walker's wonderful book. I honestly feel it is a must buy for anyone interested in the field. I use this commentary as both a way to help myself understand Mughal Carpets better and as a was to further the discussion about a fascinating topic.