Prunus Vase with the Blue-and-White Painting of Searching for Fragrance with Fine Wine (Visiting Friends with a Chinese zither) Prunus Vase with the Blue-and-White Painting of Asking a Woodcutter the Way
This pair of blue-and-white prunus vases was unearthed from the joint cemetery of Jingjiang Prince Ansu, Zhu Jingfu, and his wife in 1972. They are dignified and graceful in modeling. They are embellished with exactly the same designs on the neck, shoulders and shin, and different designs on the belly. Among them, the one with the painting of visiting friends with a Chinese zither depicts that a profound scholar traveled slowly and leisurely on the horseback. One servant boy carries a Chinese zither and leads the way ahead. Another servant carries fine wine and foods following him. Mountains in the distance are like the billows of an azure sea, which jointly constitute an exquisite Chinese ink painting. As for another vase with the painting of asking a woodcutter the way, its themed design on the belly depicts that an official draws rein, looks backward and talks to a woodcutter on his journey, like asking him the way. His guard shoulders a treasured sword and leads the way in the front. The story depicted by the painting shall be "meeting bosom friend with the melody Mountain Stream". The two prunus vases are similar in design style and complement each other in terms of content. They are not only top-grade works with respect to both modeling and design, but also representative masterpieces made in Yongle’s (1403-1424) and Xuande’s (1426-1435) reigns of the Ming Dynasty, the golden time of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain.