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A Study of Imperial Ceramic of the Hong-Wu Period in The Ming Dynasty
HU CHUNG KUEI
Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty
underglaze red porcelain
1952年波普教授（John Alexnder Pope）提出「至正型青花瓷器」理論，開啟了學術界對元青花的研究和重視，同時明代洪武瓷器的考證、區別，必然是息息相關的問題，它有著承先啟後的重要性。因為過去學術界無法辨認出，元代及明初的瓷器差異，由本篇論文希望將現今這一問題釐清。
Abstract Early Ming Dynasty porcelain, and the question of which pieces date from the Hongwu reign period of the Early Ming and which from the preceding Yuan Dynasty or from later reign periods, has been the focus of a great deal of discussion among ceramics experts and researchers over the last few years. Scholars both in Taiwan and overseas have undertaken in-depth research, both textual and archeological, and have implemented extensive comparison and analysis of the examples of Early Ming porcelain held in the collections of museums in various parts of the world. This research has confirmed the operation of official, state-run porcelain manufactories during the Hongwu period of the Early Ming, and has clarified some of the main points that can be used to distinguish Hongwu porcelain from earlier, Yuan Dynasty pieces, or from later pieces. In 1952, Professor John Alexander Pope put forward his theory regarding the production of blue-and-white porcelain during the Zhizheng era (the final reign period of the Yuan Dynasty). Pope’s work sparked a global upsurge in interest in Yuan Dynasty blue-and-white porcelain, which was naturally accompanied by a wave of new research on the authentication and classification of porcelains that had previously been assumed to date from the Hongwu era of the Early Ming. In the past, scholars have found it very difficult to distinguish between Late Yuan porcelain and Early Ming porcelain; the present study seeks to clarify how Yuan and Ming porcelains can be distinguished with greater precision. The Ming Dynasty is one of the most important periods in the evolution of Chinese porcelain. Ming Dynasty porcelain occupies a special place in the history of ceramics production; in particular, the Jingdezhen porcelain manufactories (building on the foundations that had already been established in the Song and Yuan dynasties) achieved an impressive level of technical mastery. Porcelain manufacturing technology advanced by leaps and bounds; besides the establishment of official, state-run imperial manufactories, the Hongwu era also saw the development of new forms of blue-and-white, underglaze red porcelain and color-glazed porcelain. Today, the relatively few pieces that survive from this period have become priceless treasures. The present study focuses on blue-and-white and underglaze red porcelain from the Hongwu period. In recent years, archeological discoveries and historical research have gradually improved our understanding of the distinguishing features of Hongwu porcelain. The author has undertaken in-depth comparison and analysis of a collection of 254 pieces from the Hongwu era imperial manufactories, examining the decorative motifs, the forms, the bases, and the glazes used. Chapter Five discusses the manufacturing processes, glazes, glaze shrinkage and exposed glaze phenomenon with respect to both blue-and-white and underglaze red porcelain, and outlines the key features of the techniques used in each period. This chapter demonstrates how differences in the biscuit and in the marks left where individual sections of the piece were attached can be used to distinguish porcelain dating from the Hongwu era of the Ming Dynasty from pieces dating from other periods. The Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty marked the beginning of a new era in the development of Chinese porcelain, while at the same time retaining many elements from the past. It is anticipated that the 13 categories of Hongwu era pieces from the Imperial Manufactories that are identified in this study, along with the preliminary research on glaze materials and base techniques that are presented here, will provide a useful foundation for the authentication of Hungwu era porcelain in the future.
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