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A meiping (Chinese: 梅瓶; pinyin: méipíng; literally: "plum vase", sometimes italicised in English)[1] is a shape of vase in Chinese ceramics.[2] It is traditionally used to display branches of plum blossoms.[2][3] The meiping was first made of stoneware during the Tang dynasty (618–907).[4] It was originally used as a wine vessel, but since the Song dynasty (960–1279) it also became popular as a plum vase and got its name "meiping".[5] It is tall, with a narrow base spreading gracefully into a wide body, followed by a sharply-rounded shoulder, a short and narrow neck, and a small opening.[3][5][6]

They may have lids, and many lids have no doubt been lost. The equivalent shape in Korean ceramics, where it was derived from Chinese examples, is called a Maebyeong. A distinct variant is the "truncated meiping", where there is only the top half of the usual shape, giving a squat vase with a wide bottom. This is largely restricted to Cizhou ware.[7]


  1. ^ But not, for example, by the British Museum.
  2. ^ a b Welch, Patricia Bjaaland (2008). Chinese art: a guide to motifs and visual imagery. North Clarendon: Tuttle Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8048-3864-1. 
  3. ^ a b "Prunus Vase (meiping)". Saint Louis Art Museum. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Fire Gilded Silver #Item3755". TK Asian Antiquities. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Meiping". Musée Guimet. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "meiping". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Osborne, Harold (ed), The Oxford Companion to the Decorative Arts, p. 189, 1975, OUP, ISBN 0198661134

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