Chinese Wine pot from the Ming Dynasty

CHINESE
Wine pot (16th century)
porcelain
15.6 x 20.8 x 11.5 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Bequest of Howard Spensley, 1939
4279-D3

You may have noticed the turquoise lotus wine pot on the side of the NGV Building lately. Senior Curator, Asian Art, Mae-Anna Pang talks to us about the Chinese Wine pot from the Ming Dynasty, 16th century.

 

I once asked a girl of ten years old if she noticed anything strange about the pot. She replied ‘where is the opening?’

 

The opening of the pot is actually on the bottom which is intriguing and shows the Chinese way of thinking. Unexpected, full of surprise, and beyond logical thinking. It seems no plug is necessary because there is a tube from the hole leading to compartments holding the liquid.

 

I truly believe that if we look at things with a pure mind, we gain insights.

 

We also have a similar vessel in the NGV Collection in the shape of a peach, a symbol of long life and a fruit that originated in Central Asia.

 

The lotus, which blossoms in the summer, symbolises purity as the lotus emerges from the mud and remains pure.

 

Every part of the lotus is eaten; the lotus seeds in a lotus pod symbolise fertility or many sons.

 

We also eat the roots of the lotus and the leaves are dried and used to wrap sticky rice.

 

Moreover Buddhist statues sit on lotus thrones, as the lotus is also very popular in Indian and Buddhist art.

 

Next time you are going past NGV International, make sure you come in to the Asian Galleries and see the wine pot for yourself.

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