Victoria and Albert Museum, London :: China Collection

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In addition to its very extensive regular display of Chinese art, the museum has numerous other examples of similar pieces that form a teaching and study collection. On my first visit, the study collection was open, on the second (2007) closed, but perhaps now it is again available. Where possible, I have linked here to the good images and descriptive material on the museum's own website. In some cases, these links are directly from the thumbnails; in others from the caption. A good many of the Chinese ceramics apparently are not yet in the database. The links now are to stable URLs ("Permalinks"). A number of my own images are substandard and will eventually be replaced.

Click on thumbnail for full view.

Head of a horse.
China. Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) or later. Jade. H.: 14; W.: 17.2; Depth: 6.5 cm.
A.16-1935. Learn more, but note one of the two images there washes out the color.
China. Han Dynasty (206 BCE-8 CE). Earthenware. The lid is in the shape of the Mountains of Paradise.
Cf. similar examples: 1) in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.2000.190.4a-b; 2) in the Seattle Art Museum, 51.199.
Sheep pen.
China. Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE). Earthenware colored with lead glaze.
C. 884-1936
A similar object is in the collections of the British Museum.
Lion-shaped Ewer.
China. Five Dynasties period (500-600 CE). Earthenware colored with lead glaze.
C. 834-1936
Buddhist stele (on right in first photo).
China, S. Shanxi Province. 520 CE. Carved limestone. H.: 173.4 cm.
Imagery includes the debate between the Bodhisattvas Vimalakirti and Manjusri.
A.9-1935. Learn more and view full length images of its four sides.
Buddhist stele.
China. Northern Qi period (550-577 CE).
China. Ca. 550-575 CE. Carved limestone.
Amitabha Buddha.
China, Hebei. Northern Qi Dynasty, 550-575 CE. Carved marble with traces of pigment.
A.36-1950. Learn more.
Bodhisattva Guanyin with a vase
China. 575-625 CE.
Figure of an official or soldier.
Sui Dynasty (ca. 580-618 CE). Earthenware with lead glaze. The figure is clearly "foreigner," not Chinese.
An analogous figure is in the collection of the British Museum.
Lobed cup.
China. Tang Dynasty (675-750 CE). Chased and gilt silver. L.: 18.8 cm.
M.35-1935. Learn more, where there is a photo showing this cup grouped with analogous pieces.
There are several such stem cups in the collections of the British Museum: Example 1; Example 2; Example 3.
Cup with chased design.
China. Tang Dynasty (ca. 650-750 CE). Chased and punched silver. H.: 5.1; Dia.: 6.5 cm.
Learn more, where there is also a photograph of this cup grouped with other T'ang metalwork.
Cup in the form of a flower.
China. Tang Dynasty (618-906 CE). Chased and gilded silver. H.: 3.8; Dia.: 5.7 cm.
M.33-1935. Learn more. For an analogous but more elaborately decorated cup in the British Museum, click here.
Silver cup and its ceramic counterpart.
China. Tang Dynasty (800-900 CE). M. 37-1935.
China. Tang or Five Dynasties period (875-950 CE). Stoneware, with a grey-green celadon glaze. H.: 7.6; Dia.: 11.1 cm. FE 34-1973. For more on the ceramic cup, click here.
China. 960-1127 (Northern Song). Gold with chased design. H.: 4 cm.; Dia.: 7 cm.
M. 30-1935. Learn more.
Tang Dynasty (ca. 650-800). Bronze with gold leaf.
China. Tang Dynasty (ca. 700-750). Glazed earthenware.
C. 33-1965
Group of women.
China. Tang Dynasty. Ceramic with lead glaze.
C. 66-1961
Woman holding a mirror.
China. Tang Dynasty, 700-750 CE. Ceramic with lead sancai glaze.
Circ. 71-1935
Dancing boy from West Asia (or Indonesia?)
Tang Dynasty (ca. 680-750). Earthenware with white slip, unfired painting and gilding. H.: 25.8 cm.
Buddhist guardian figure.
China. Tang Dynasty, 700-750 CE. Ceramic with lead sancai glaze.
C. 78-1955
Camel, with Central Asian caravaneer/rider
China. Tang Dynasty (ca. 8th c. CE). Earthenware, decorated with colored lead (sancai) glaze.
Tang Dynasty (ca. 700-750). Earthenware with sancai glaze. H.: 54.1 cm.
C.50-1964. Learn more and view image of analogous horse. For a similar ceramic horse (but with different saddle), see LACMA M.90.141.1.
Flask in form of a leather bag
Liao Dynasty. Ca.910-1000 CE. Ceramic.
China. Song Dynasty (ca. 950-1100 CE). Gold with chased lotus design.
M. 29-1935
Pouring vessel.
China. Song Dynasty (ca. 1100-1179 CE). Bronze inlaid with gold and silver.
M. 731-1910.
Southern China. Song Dynasty (1050-1125). Porcelain.
A seated Bodhisattva
Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). Wood, carved and painted.
Amitabha Buddha.
China. 1100-1300 CE. Carved limestone; once covered with gesso, paint and gilding.
A.4-1924. Learn more.
Seated Bodhisattva Guanyin
Jin Dynasty, ca. 1200, repainted and restored in Ming period (late 14th-early 17th c. CE) and in 20th c. Wood, carved, painted, lacquered and gilded. H.: 114.2 cm.
For an analogous sculpture of Guanyin (in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum) from the preceding Liao Dynasty, click here.
A.7-1935. Learn more.
China. Song or Yuan Dynasty. Ca. 1200-1250. Lacquered wood with silver lining.
FE 10-1974
China. Song or Yuan Dynasty. Ca. 1200-1300. Jade.
Storage jar for alcohol.
North China, Yuan Dynasty. Ca. 1275-1350. Ceramic.
Circ.442-1928. Learn more, but note the picture on the V & A web page is not this jar.
Flask (kendi)
Ming Dynasty, Hongwu reign (1368-1398). Porcelain. The spout has been cut down.
Vessel for pouring alcohol
Ming Dynasty. Ca. 1400. Porcelain.
Ming Dynasty. Ca. 1400-1430. Porcelain. In background, a Sui-Tang period (600-700 CE) white ceramic vase.
For a good image of a flask analogous to the Ming one here, see Seattle Art Museum, 48.167, Jingdezhen porcelain dated 1426-1435. For an analogous vase to that in the background, see Berlin Museum of Asian Art, Yuegutang Collection, Kat. nr. 87.
China. Ming Dynasty; Yongle reign (1403-1424). Porcelain painted with underglaze blue. H.: 44.8 cm.
China, 1403-1424. Jingdezhen porcelain. Dia.: 38.4 cm.
An example of the blue and white ware being imitated by Islamic ceramicists. Donated by Safavid Shah Abbas I to shrine of Sahykh Safi al-Din at Ardabil in 1611. This family shrine of the Safavid dynasty housed one of the most significan collections anywhere of Chinese blue and white ware.
1712-1876. Note this dish has been on display in the Islamic Gallery.
China. Ming Dynasty; Xuande reign (1426-1435). Jingdezhen porcelain, painted in underglaze blue. Dia.: 28 cm.
1633-1876. Learn more.
Ming Dynasty, Xuande reign (1426-1435). Carved red lacquer. This is the only surviving piece from the "Orchid Factory," the Imperial lacquer workshop in Beijing.
Folding armchair
Ming Dynasty. Ca. 1500-1560. Carved lacquer on wood. Used when the Emperor was traveling.
China (?). Early 15th c. CE. Gilt bronze.
Figure of Bodhidarma.
China. 1484 CE. Stoneware with colored glazes.
Altar vase.
Ming Dynasty. Ca. 1480-1500. Porcelain, decorated with cobalt blue. H.: 67 cm.
The second vase of the pair is in the Musée Guimet, Paris. There are two similar vases in the Percival David Foundation Collection, which is currently being transferred to the British Museum. One is from the Yuan period, the other from the Ming, but with different proportions.
Food box
Ming Dynasty, Jiajing reign (1522-1566). Porcelain. Peach tree on top twisted in shape of character shou (long life).
Jar for mixing alcohol
Ming Dynasty, Jiajing reign (1522-1566). Porcelain. H.: 40.6 cm.
China. Ming Dynasty; Jiajing period (1522-1566). Jingdezhen porcelain, painted in underglaze blue, with engraved Persian silver mounts; design probably arms of Portuguese Peixoto family. H.: 33.3 cm.
C.222-1931. Learn more.
Pouring vessel (kendi)
China. ca. 1580-1620. Porcelain, with English silver mounts and cover converting it into a ewer and made in London, early 17th c.
China. Ca. 1625-1655. Porcelain export ware.
Salt dish in form of an English silver standing salt of ca. 1580
Ca. 1580-1620. Porcelain
Salt dish as above and
Mustard pot
China. Ca. 1630-1645. Porcelain with European silver mounts.
Vase for tulips.
China. Ca. 1700. Porcelain. Probably copied from a design by Adriaen Kochs, owner of a ceramics factory at Delft.
Coffee pot.
Qing Dynasty; Jingdezhen kilns. Ca. 1700-1770. Porcelain. Probably made from a design by Lambert van Eenhorn, the owner of a ceramics factory at Delft, Holland.

Updated January 18, 2009