Meng Haoran Looking for Plum Blossom on a Snowy Day
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Meng Haoran (孟浩然, c. 690–740) is one of the most renowned poets in Tang dynasty (618–906). He started off pursuing a civil service career and then abandoned it to concentrate on poetry. He was a major influence on other Tang and later poets because of his innovative focus on nature. There is a play attributed to the noted Yuan dynasty playwright and poet, Ma Zhiyuan (马致远, c.1250 – c.1324), entitled ‘(Meng Haoran) Looking for Plum Blossom on a Snowy Day’. In the play, Meng Haoran was characterised as a scholar with incredible integrity, symbolised by his love of plum blossom looking its best during the depths of winter. For hundreds of years, Chinese literati have lauded his life-long self-exile from material pursuits in officialdom and held up his deeds as good examples for scholars.
Jeffrey P. Stamen and Cynthia Volk with Yibin Ni (2017), A Culture Revealed: Kangxi-Era Chinese Porcelain from the Jie Rui Tang Collection 文采卓然：潔蕊堂藏康熙盛世瓷, Jieruitang Publishing, Bruges, pp. 34–35.
Fig 1: blue-and-white porcelain jar, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Jie Rui Tang Collection
Fig 2: famille verte and doucai conical cup, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Jie Rui Tang Collection
Fig 3: porcelain dish with underglaze blue decoration from the Hatcher Cargo, c. 1643, courtesy of Princessehof Museum, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Fig 4: porcelain dish with enamelled decoration, Kangxi period, early 18th century, published in Regina Krahl, Chinese ceramics from the Meiyintang collection, London: Azimuth Editions, 1994, Vol. II, cat. 773, p. 144
Fig 5: porcelain dish with enamelled decoration, Kangxi period, early 18th century, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fig 6-7: porcelain bowl with underglaze blue decoration, Wanli period (1572–1620), courtesy of the Sir Michael Butler Collection