Articles written by Li-Chiao Upham

Form and Function, Song Dynasty Celedon Teacups

The celadon teacups from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) show timeless elegance and artistic beauty. They were also made with the idea that they would be used with proper and perfect etiquette.

Ming or Yuan

I used to dream of owning a Ming dynasty blue and white vase. Finally, after many years, I thought that I had finally aquired one. Whilte it may have had some defects, these only made it more attractive to me than if it was perfect.

Chinese Folk Art Ceramics, Why Everyday Dishware is Still Precious Today

I have always been partial to folk art ceramics, even though they are inexpensive and rustic in appearance, but it wasn't until recently that such pieces began to attract attention from scholars. Their art value is based primarily along the sides. Many of the books written on this subject have decided that the auspicious patters drawn on the folk ceramics are a reflection of the poor people's hope for a better life.

Tea Wars

I have always loved bright colors and tend to stay away from black, but when I saw a pomegranate shaped black glaze vase, I could not walk away. The shining black glaze looked purple gold and when I placed it under a magnifying glass, I could see golden stars shining in the dark.

From Beggar to Emperor

Hongwu was a beggar. He was the emperor with the most humble background in Chinese history.

For the Love of an Older Woman

In April of 1999, a Ming dynasty ceramic cup was sold at an auction for over US 3.7 million dollars. It broke the Chinese Ceramic auction record for the highest priced piece sold. It's small, only 8.1 cm in diameter and 3.1 cm high. It's painted with a couple of hens, a couple of roosters and a several chick. What is it? It is a "chicken cup" from the reign of the Ming emperor, Chenghua.