Picture 1



  For the lovers of ceramics in Ming and Qing Dynasty, the blue and white porcelain in Yongle and Xuande period is the greatest attraction.
  During the period of collection, I found a specimen of a small plate in Yongle period named "Qilin watcing the moon"(picture 1). I have been long excited after this finding. But after the excitement, a kind of regret emerged in my mind: when can I have such porcelain in perfect condition, even a small piece? The price in the bidding block is so high that I cannot afford at this moment. So what I can do is to cherish the small plate I have and appreciate it.
  Not long ago, I am so lucky to find a flawless plate of Ming Dynasty with veins of flowers, bamboos and chrysanthemums which made my dream come true. It is 14.5cm in diameter and 3cm in height. In the center of the plate, you can see three chrysanthemums flourishing there, on the right of which is a bud and a small branch of bamboo on the left. In view of glaze, shape, color and veins of the plate, it must be one of the finest artistic work in the early period of Ming Dynasty.
  After comparing the related record and the specimen, I believe this plate to be the work of top grade in Yongle period. There are several reasons. First of all, it was said that the tyre of porcelain in Yongle period is thin and light while thick and heavy in Xuande period. At the connection of the tyre and glaze, you can see the color of orange somewhat like the flint, this just suit the characteristic of the works in Ming Dynasty. Secondly, the glaze is fine and smooth. And you can hardly see the veins like the surface of orange and the green color at the conglomeration of the glaze like Xuande works. Watching through magnifier, you will see blisters of different sizes equably distributed. The lower part of the glaze just like the waves and manifest a little red color. Thirdly, from the aspect of the art of making the tyre, the inner part of the plate is clean and clear, but the marks of making tyres will be seen outside it. Its mouth is thin but not round. The lower foot is flat, which equals to the characteristic of "the bottom just like a moon" in Yongle period. What is more, the blue and white pigment used is special which is called "sumaliqing". The technique in painting veins follows that of Hongwu period but different from it. When painting bamboo, the leaves of it always painted upward. This just reveals the painting style in the early stage of Ming Dynasty. 
  These were some of my opinions about ceramics in Ming Dynasty, for reference only.