Porcelain painted in overglaze sepia and black; H. 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm), Diam. 4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harleigh G. Wathen, 1968 (68.4.1,.2)
Early in the twentieth century, under the auspices of Yuan Shikai, some ceramics of surprisingly fine quality were produced at the Jingdezhen kilns of Jiangxi Province. Yuan had been named president of the Chinese Republic in 1912, and his ambitions to become emperor were realized in December 1915, when he "accepted" the throne. His reign was short-lived, however, as he died in June 1916.
This pair of vases have mirror-image designs that have been painted over the glaze in sepia and black pigments with minute attention to detail. They are marked on the base with Yuan Shikai's reign title, Hongxian, and they stand as proof of a degree of excellence in ceramic manufacture that is generally unexpected in wares of this period.