Ru Ceramic Brush Washer discovered in Dresden Museum

The Ru dish found in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD)

During a review of the digital catalogue of the porcelain collection of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD), one piece caught Chinese ceramic expert Regina Krahl’s special attention–a flat bowl (diameter 13 cm) with a vertical rim on a narrow foot that curves outwards, most likely a brush washer. Its subdued bluish-green glaze has crazing typical of ru ceramics. The bowl was acquired by Oscar Rucker-Embden when staying in China from 1913-1914, and bought in 1927 by the then-director of the museum. “Staff from the Palace Museum in Beijing suggested that the bowl from Dresden could be a Ru piece back in 2018, and this has now been confirmed by Regina Krahl,” making it the 88th Ru piece known to date. For more information, click here.

The full story behind this amazing discovery, plus many fascinating facts about ru ware and the Dresden Museum can be found in the spring 2021 issue of Arts of Asia (pages 60 ff), which has recently launched online editions of their publication, making access to their well-researched and illustrated articles all the easier. The article is ‘must’ reading for anyone interested in this rarest of rare porcelains. To share just one interesting fact in Ms. Krahl’s article: she writes that ru ware was so rare, it was rarely copied until the Yongzheng Emperor (r. 1723-1735) had samples from the imperial collection sent to Jingdezhen so they might be copied. “The great exception, however, are closely related contemporary wares made in Korea, which, if they were not themselves the predecessors, must have been based on official gifts of ru ware that had been sent by the Northern Song court.”