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Charger with Foliate Rim and Peacock Decoration (mid-14th century)

For Artwork in Focus we explore individual artworks, critiquing their style and discussing their socio-political context. Today we look at Charger with Foliate Rim and Peacock Decoration, mid-14th century

About the Work

Title : Charger with Foliate Rim and Peacock Decoration
Year : mid-14th century
Medium :Blue-and-white ware: porcelain with decoration painted in underglaze cobalt blue and with molded decoration on the rim and cavetto
Dimensions :overall (max.): H. 8 × Diam. (across points) 48.9 cm (3 1/8 × 19 1/4 in.)
Location : Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Blue & White Porcelain

According to the digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums :

“In the fourteenth century, potters at Jingdezhen mastered the technique of decorating porcelains with cobalt blue pigment under a colorless glaze, producing a refined ceramic ware that is revered for its beauty and fine potting. Chinese sophisticates of the day, however, steeped in the earlier Song dynasty (960–1279) taste for subtly hued monochromes, tended to disdain blue-and-white wares, relegating them to the low-status export market.”

The motifs depicted on this particular piece are typical of the trends in Chinese ceramics of the time. Nature borrowed imagery, including trees, flowers, birds etc. – were common. This is until the fashion changed and people began to demand motifs similar to those found in Chinese antiquity, and then eventually more modern styles were introduced.

Other Details

Charger with Foliate Rim and Peacock Decoration is housed in the Harvard Art Museums in Room 2600. It is part of the museum’s collection ofEast Asian Art – East Asian Painting and Decorative Arts. The piece was gifted to the museum in 1991.


To learn more about iconic artworks and their socio-political context, visit Artwork in Focus.

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