A British Museum Spotlight Loan: A Ming Emperor’s seat

We are delighted to be displaying A Ming Emperor’s seat as part of the British Museum Spotlight Loan tour, marking the first time that the seat has been loaned to other museums in the UK.

A Ming Emperor’s seat is a beautiful glazed blue and white garden seat dating from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). The seat was made for the court of the Wanli Emperor, one of the longest reigning of all the Ming dynasty emperors. Crafted in Jingdezhen, the seat features blue dragons surrounded by clouds, waves and a flaming jewel.

RAMM has a small collection of Chinese ceramics that were made for the Court and the export market. This includes Jingdezhen-made porcelain which was purchased alongside tea. Examples of blue and white ware on display in the World Cultures gallery are decorated with traditional floral motifs such as peonies, Chinese plum and chrysanthemum. A Ming Emperor’s seat shares with RAMM’s porcelain the Imperial enjoyment of flora, the kiln site of production and quality and methods of manufacture and decoration.

The loan celebrates the tenth anniversary of the arrival of the Sir Percival David Collection at the British Museum. Sir Percival David (1892-1964) built up the collection of 1,700 objects between 1914 and 1960, and it is considered to be one of the finest collections of Chinese ceramics in the world. A Ming Emperor’s seat is one of the largest porcelains in the Collection.

The British Museum Spotlight Loan tour travelled to Manchester Museum in early 2020 and will be at RAMM from 10 August to 21 November 2021.

Keep up to date with A Ming Emperor’s seat by following #EmperorSeatTour and our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages.

Generously supported by the Sir Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art.

Image credit: Side view, large hollow blue and white porcelain garden seat, Jingdezhen, 1573–1620 (detail) © The Trustees of the British Museum lent by kind permission of the Trustees of the Sir Percival David Foundation.