This fascinating vase was made by Ming Jia Ceramics, located in southern China in the city of Chaozhou, a famous ceramics center for 1300 years. The vase was created of heavy, cream colored stoneware type clay, the body ridged and finished with a swirl in the bottom, formed without an upper lip or a foot.
There are several kinds of decorations on this piece. The exterior is covered with a brushed on, pale brown matte glaze. The technique of sgrafitto (cutting through the top layer) was then used in two ways. The first was to cut large irregular shapes that were filled with a glittering high gloss dark brown glaze coating a bumpy texture, surmounted by shiny glazed characters. Sgrafitto was also used on the rest of the vase to scratch dozens of small characters through to the cream color. All of the characters appear to be Chinese, but, since there are tens of thousands of characters to choose from, we have not attempted to translate any of these.
This vase has an incised mark enclosed in a square on the bottom; it is a large capital letter M, with the name Ming Jia beneath. We tried to capture the mark in photograph #4 but it is difficult to picture. The vase is in wonderful condition; what looks like a chip in photo #4 was actually created at the time the vase was made, as it is partly glazed. There is also a smudged area in the brown glaze, shown in photograph # 2, upper center, that was also done in the making--it's about the size of a thumbprint and may actually be one.
Standing 5 1/2 inches tall, the vase has a 3 1/4 inch wide mouth and a 3 3/4 inch diameter bottom. It weighs just under two pounds. It's not only beautiful but tactile. Very decorative, very intriguing, very Asian....
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