Chinese emperors chose their imperial porcelains with strict requirements, just as choosing their own concubines. If the porcelain was not perfectly crafted, one dared not submitting it to the emperor. Ancient beauties passed way long ago, we can no longer see their exquisite faces and appearance, hence incapable of comparing the chosen ones and the unchosen ones. Yet, the imperial porcelains live, by simply walking into 'The Ming Imperial Porcelain: A Comparative Exhibition of Archaeological Findings at the Imperial Kiln Site in Jingdezhen and Chenghua Period Porcelain in the Collection of the Palace Museum' in Beijing, we would be able to see the differences between imperial porcelains chosen by the Chenghua Emperor, and the inferior ones which were left in the imperial kilns of Jingdezhen since that time.
Various qualities of a lady decided whether she would be chosen by the emperor or not, be it temperament, body shape, or even the size of her feet. Similarly, porcelains crafted in imperial kilns failed to make the way to the Forbidden City due to different reasons, be it deformity, incorrect inscription, or wrong painting. The fragments of these inferior porcelains were finally unearthed in the archaeological site in Jingdezhen and exhibited in the Palace Museum, after being restored by experts. Take one of the exhibits, the Blue and White 'Dragon and Phoenix' Dish as an example. One of the dragons painted has a six-clawed foot, while another one has a four-clawed foot, both inconsistent with the standard of a five-clawed dragon, which was exclusively used the emperor.
From Doucai to Blue and White, from Underglaze Red to Sancai, from imperial antiques to unchosen ones and replicas, there are over 180 porcelains displayed at the exhibition.
Date: October 25, 2016 - February 26, 2017
Venue: The Palace Museum, Beijing
Opening Information of the Palace Museum
Opening Hours (off-peak): 8:30 - 17:30 (Closed on Mondays)
Address: 4 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
Phone: +86 10 8500 7421
Admission: RMB 40 (No additional charge for this exhibition)