Poetry, song welcome 600-year-old Ming vase in Glasgow

Updated: 2014-04-14 14:58


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Singers, poetry and song Saturday welcomed a 600-year-old Ming vase from the Chinese collection at the British Museum on the first stage of a national tour at a museum in Scotland.

The cobalt blue and white flask, with lotus scroll decoration, is just over 50 cm tall and is the largest Ming porcelain of its kind at the British Museum.

The vase goes on show at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, which houses one of Europe's best collections of Chinese porcelain.

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The Burrell Collection was gifted to Glasgow by Sir William Burrell, a Scottish ship owner who died in 1958.

He was a collector of art and antiques, and left his collection to his home city before his death. It is made up of 9,000 items, of which 1300 are Chinese ceramics, ranging from the Neolithic era to export porcelain of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Chung Yupin, curator of Chinese and Far Eastern Civilizations at Glasgow Museums, told Xinhua the vase goes on display with three porcelain bowls from the same part of the Ming period as the visiting vase.

Chung added, "There are three large and rare early Ming porcelain bowls from Sir William's outstanding legacy. The bowls are very large, and had a ceremonial function at festivals in the ceremonies of the imperial court in the imperial palace in Beijing."

The vase is the shape of a bottle, in Chinese 'bian hu'. "It is a beautiful object made for connoisseurs. The Ming era Xuande Emperor commissioned the best people to make this very significant shape. This is the first time in porcelain history that this shape of vase is seen," said Chung.

As part of the tour, contemporary artists have been creating new work in response to the vase going on display.

At the Burrell Collection, composer Eddie McGuire has set to music words from poet Tom Furniss who has written an ode to the flask, entitled "Ming imperial porcelain flask visits Glasgow".

"The ode is a reflection on the beauty of the object; it is not just a song, more an explanation in music and verse," McGuire added.

The vase is on show at the Burrell Collection until July 6.