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|Tuesday, June 19, 2001, updated at 08:51(GMT+8)|
Guilin Vases Arrive in Beijing99 treasured plum vases kept in the Guilin Museum are now on display at the Museum of Chinese History, according to the latest Beijing Today. These vases along with more than 200 plum vases were unearthed from the Eleven Tombs of the Jingjiang Prince Families of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 ). Jingjiang was once the name for Guilin.
An old saying goes that there are Thirteen Ming Tombs in Beijing in the north, and Eleven Jingjiang Tombs in the south.
In ancient China, plum vases were extensively used as vessels for wine, household decorations, and as burial articles in tombs.
They originated in the 7th century and became quite popular later on with the maturity of blue and white porcelain. Though the shape varied in different historic periods, plum vases share common features of short neck, small opening, full shoulder, round belly, narrow waist and long shank.
The vases unearthed from Jingjiang Mausoleum are divided into 13 types of glaze colors and 28 patterns, dating back to 6 different historic periods. Here are a few exhibits not to be missed: a polychrome plum vase with crackled glaze, clouds and dragon design, made in the reign of Emperor Wanli (1573-1620).
Generally a five-clawed dragon symbolizes the emperor, whereas four-clawed dragon designs are used for the prince. This vase is unique, however, in that the dragon not only has five claws, but it also has a paw of six claws. Another vase, a blue and white high-waist plum vase with lid and design with twin dragons vying for the pearl, was made in the reign of Emperor Jiajing (1522-1566). It contained three baby mice soaked in alcohol when unearthed. According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, mouse-alcohol is a tonic drink. The discovery has a very high value in the research of alcohol culture in Guilin.
Other vases with patterns of figures, flowers, fish, aquatic plants, creatures, and Eight Trigrams are all worth appreciating.
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