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Porcelain from the Imperial Kilns of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

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Location:Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi gong), Hall for Abstinence (Zhai gong)

Dates: 2015-06-02 through 2015-09-02

Porcelain from the Imperial Kilns of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644): Comparisons of Excavated and Extant Ceramic Pieces from the Hongwu, Yongle, and Xuande Reigns (14th – 15th c.)


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The Ming dynasty is a period in which emperors held absolute power. One means by which their authority is embodied is a comprehensive management system for porcelain reserved for imperial use. The Ming court establishes imperial kilns in two locations. Products of the highest quality are selected and transported to the imperial palace. Many of these become the very foundation of the Palace Museum’s Ming dynasty imperial porcelain collection.
  Since the 1980s, tons of porcelain shards have been excavated from the Ming imperial kiln sites at Zhushan, Jingdezhen. They are restored into over a thousand porcelain items, providing precious materials for studies of the Ming imperial kiln system.
  Scholars have long hoped for a comparative exhibition showcasing the porcelain unearthed from the imperial kiln sites at Jingdezhen alongside the extant items housed in the Palace Museum, so that they can gain a complete picture of the great variety of porcelain produced by the Ming imperial kilns and better understand the management system that governs production.   
  As a national institution, the Palace Museum is known for its pre-eminent porcelain collection from the Ming imperial kilns, in both quality and quantity. The museum is thus the perfect place for showcasing extant imperial porcelain wares datable to the Ming dynasty and the unearthed items from Jingdezhen kiln sites. The “Porcelain from the Imperial Kilns of the Ming Dynasty” exhibitions, a product of successful cooperation between the museum and the Jingdezhen Municipal Government, present an intriguing juxtaposition: items produced in the Ming kilns that fell short of imperial requirements are displayed alongside those that were selected, and are therefore now in the Palace Museum collection.
  This exhibition marks the beginning of the “Porcelain from the Imperial Kilns of the Ming Dynasty” exhibition series. We will organize more comparative exhibitions showcasing imperial kiln porcelain from the Chenghua, Hongzhi, Zhengde, Jiajing, Longqing, and Wanli reigns. We hope that you will return for other exhibitions in this series.

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