China is well known throughout the world for its porcelain, and Jingdezhen, a city in northern Jiangxi Province, is synonymous as being the cradle of China’s china.

An exhibition, titled “Jingdezhen Porcelain Wares in the mid-15th century China,” is currently showcasing these historic wares at the Shanghai Museum through September 1.

Organized by Shanghai Museum and Jingdezhen Imperial Ceramic Archaeological Research Institute, the exhibit features the Shanghai Museum collection, newly discovered imperial porcelain from Jingdezhen, and various loans from 26 museums and institutes from all over the world.

In addition to the official porcelain wares of the three-reign period of Zhengtong, Jingtai and Tianshun (1436-1464) in the Ming Dynasty, the exhibition also provides examples designed for Ming royal governors and civilian kiln products as well, which rival the Xuande (1426-1435) and Chenghua (1465-1487) porcelain wares in quality and variety.

The three reigns of Zhengtong, Jingtai and Tianshun, in mid-Ming Dynasty, went through political turmoil following a competition between two brothers for its throne. Thus there was a 29-year gap, between the golden ages of Xuande and the following reign of Chenghua, in terms of imperial porcelain production.

It was only in 1988 when the imperial kiln site of the Zhengtong reign was discovered at Mount Zhusan, Jingdezhen, together with a great amount of important porcelain shards excavated from the Zhengtong to Tianshun strata in 2014, that light was thrown on the imperial porcelain production of this particular period.

“We hope that this exhibition might ‘restore’ the development of imperial porcelain for this previous ‘empty historical page,’” said Yang Zhigang, the museum’s director.

Exhibition info

Date: Through September 1 (closed on Mondays), 9am-5pm

Venue: 2/F, Shanghai Museum

Address: 201 People’s Ave