c. 1700–1725
Porcelain, enamel
16 1/2 × 10 × 10 in. (41.91 × 25.4 × 25.4 cm) Urn: 13 × 10 × 10 in. (33.02 × 25.4 × 25.4 cm) Cover: 3 1/2 × 6 3/4 × 6 3/4 in. (8.89 × 17.15 × 17.15 cm)
Decorative Arts and Design
Wendy and Emery Reves Collection - Porcelain , Level 3
Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

General Description

This vase is part of a set of vases called garnitures. Possibly first seen on temple altars by 16th or 17th century European visitors to China, garnitures of vases became popular items of interior decoration in Europe during the later 17th century continuing through the 19th century. They were assembled from the numerous single pieces imported into Europe for use on mantelpieces, furniture, on overdoor cornices, cabinet tops, as well as on tables and shelves. The arrangement consisted of the covered jar form, as seen here, usually placed centrally and flanked or separated by beaker-form vases (see 1985.R.958) or otherwise alternating the shapes depending on their combinations. Garniture sets of three, five, or seven were common.

As on the other vases in this garniture set, the painting of the flowers and birds is extremely fine and executed in the typical green palette of Kangxi-period porcelains. The rich black ground sets off the eggplant purple plum trees and their yellow rockwork and peonies. Outlined in iron red are four petal-form reserves with famille verte enamels of birds, leaves, branches, and blossoms. The bottom of each vase is marked with a single artemisia leaf, a symbol of good fortune, encircled by a double ring which often appears on K'ang Hsi period porcelain.

Surviving garnitures with black enameled grounds, called f__amille noire, are extremely rare. The Reves example is one of only three sets known.

Adapted from

  • Dallas Museum of Art, Decorative Arts Highlights from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1995), 98.

  • Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1985), 188.

Web Resources

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Read more about Chinese Export Porcelain