A Ming imperial porcelain flask visits Glasgow, by Tom Furniss
Large porcelain flask painted with underglaze blue decoration. Made in Jingdezhen, China. Ming dynasty, Xuande mark and period, 1426?1435. Gift of Sir John Addis.
In the deepest deeps of old slow time,
Five thousand miles from here,
Two continents of clay collide,
Two halves of China merge between
The Yellow and the Yangtze.
Twenty thousand years ago
Potters working in a cave
Formed and fired the southern clay,
Made pots in Jiangxi province:
Shards and bones remain.
In the Xuande reign of the Great Ming,
Six hundred years ago,
A peasant took a bamboo spade
And dug in beds of clay.
Women mixed the kaolin
With pottery stone and quartz,
Water from a mountain stream
And feldspar from the earth.
A potter took the earthen clay
And made a wonder with his hands,
A flask half a metre high,
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