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Wine cup

Origin: China, Dehua
OH: 2 7/16"; OL: 3 3/4"
Porcelain, hard-paste
Gift of Ms. Lois Wagner
Acc. No. 2011-58
Chinese porcelain wine cup of flared octagonal form with four bracket feet. The cup was press molded and then two separately molded relief designs were added, one on each side. The applied ornament depicts a bird sitting on a prunus branch.
Label:This wine cup imitates Chinese rhinoceros horn drinking cups. The molded form is divided into eight panels, an auspicious number in Chinese belief. While Jingdezhen was the world’s largest supplier of porcelain during the 17th and 18th centuries, other areas of China also produced such wares. Dehua was known for production of porcelain that is dense, very translucent, and milky white. Known as “blanc-de-chine” or “Chinese white,” the look of Dehua porcelain was so popular in early 18th-century Europe that porcelain manufactories there spent a great deal of effort attempting to recreate it.

Because less porcelain was exported to Europe from Dehua than from Jingdezhen, it is surprising that any of these refined ceramics reached colonial America. Archaeologists at Drayton Hall near Charleston, South Carolina, have unearthed fragments of a figure that was likely made at Dehua. Figures with 18th-century histories of ownership are documented in Charleston as well as upstate New York.