Although very small, this pretty little cup is one of the most precious pieces in the whole oriental porcelain collection. It is part of the so-called blue and white family and can be dated to between the late 16th and early 17th centuries, which puts it at the end of the Ming period.
In this period, blue and white porcelain was very popular but to date, it is only found in limited numbers. In the centuries following the Ming dynasty, new colours and decorative styles were experimented, leaving the simple, light designs of the previous period behind. The decorative simplicity and purity of the blue on the white background of this kaolin-rich clay is what makes the items from this period so sought after and expensive. On the bottom of this example is a winding decorative band with above it, a “harmonious space” that makes the composition so light and elegant. Under the rim of the cup is a decorative motif of horses galloping amidst clouds and hills; they have alternating positions and are characterised by an uneven application of the colour blue, making this piece unique and inimitable.