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Apr 7, 2009

Next Meeting Saturday at Washington and Lee University Plaza

The next meeting of the Washington Oriental Ceramic Group will take place on Saturday, May 2, at 1 pm, at the Reeves Center, Washington and Lee University Plaza, Letcher Avenue, Lexington, VA 24450. The Reeves Collection Curator Ron Fuchs II will discuss the collection of over 4000 ceramics. It is especially rich in Chinese export porcelain of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries made for the American and Europe markets. Dinner services owned by George Washington are in the WLU’s collection, as well as Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese ceramics. The visit will include a handling session of the Reeves material.

Meet at Noon at the Southern Inn Restaurant, Lexington

WLU is 180 miles from Washington which takes three hours to drive. To get there in time for lunch before proceeding to WLU, drivers must be at the Beltway/I-66 exit by 9 am. Early May is typically beautiful and Lexington, which is also the home of the historic Virginia Military Academy (VMI), is a lovely college town. We will assemble in Lexington at 12 noon at the Southern Inn Restaurant, 37 South Main Street for lunch before driving the short distance to WLU. Directions to WLU and the Southern Inn are at the end of this announcement. Please RSVP to David or Hedy - ph. #703 503 3195, or David will work on arranging car-pools for those interested.

S.E. Asian Ceramics Websites

Here are two websites that cover S.E. Asian ceramics. The first is the Freer and Sackler galleries’ on-line catalogue which has been live since December, Ceramics of Mainland Southeast Asia. On May 13 this valued on-line resource will hold an on-line interactive forum at 8 pm (EST). This forum will be preceded at 7 pm by a special reception and live discussion for Washington DC-based folks. Pencil in that date. Details to follow. The other is the WOCG’s website which includes coverage of Vietnamese ceramics, other ceramics found in S.E. Asia and gives monthly updates of our meetings.

Early Ming dynasty (1368-1398) cup stand

Synopsis of the 2 March session in Freer Gallery Storage

Participants handled 21 cobalt blue-decorated ceramics from the Freer’s superlative collection, including nine imperial pieces from Yongle, Xuande, Chenghua, Kangxi and Yongzheng reigns of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911 C.E.). Two Chenghua pieces (r. 1465-87), (1) a deep bowl painted in light blue cobalt inside with the three friends of winter - pine, bamboo and flowering plum , on the exterior a landscape with mandarin figures; and (2) a tiny stem cup with overglaze enamels of stylized rose flowers or lotus medallions outlined in underglaze pale cobalt (doucai ware) epitomized the exquisite, unsurpassed quality of imperial 15th century Chinese porcelains. Interestingly, a number of the other pieces, notably, a tall, powerful awkward Korean ritual dragon jar, a Northern Vietnamese charger and an early Ming (1368-1398) cup stand, stood up well to imperial perfection. Their body was fine and the painting enhanced the ceramic shapes. This kind of face-to-face handling comparison helped explain the great attraction of export blue and white wares from China and its neighbors to consumers from Japan to West Asia during the golden age of S.E. Asian trade, 12th-17th centuries, at least to this reporter.

Directions to the Reeves Center, WLU:

  • Take I-66 W, then I-81 S,
  • As you near Lexington take Exit #195 toward Lexington and merge onto US-11, which becomes Main Street,
  • Take Route 11 South into Lexington,
  • Cross the Maury River,
  • You will see the Virginia Military Institute on both sides of the road (olive drab buildings),
  • You come to a Y where you bear to the right – this is Jackson Avenue,
  • You will see Washington and Lee to your right (red brick buildings on a hill),
  • Make a right into the parking lot below the Lee Chapel, which has big brick gates,
  • From the lot walk up the hill past the chapel to the Colonnade (the red brick buildings with columns),
  • When you get to the Colonnade, turn right and walk down the brick path.
  • The Reeves Center is the first building on the right- a red brick house with columns on front and an addition on the back

Parking is difficult on and around campus, so there may not be enough spaces in the Lee Chapel/ visitors lot. You can also park on the street.

Curator Ron Fuchs’ cell phone # at the Reeves Center, if someone gets lost is 302 562 5313.

Directions to the Southern Inn, 37 South Main Street, (ph. 540/463-3612):

  • From 81 Southbound,
  • Take the US Rt. 11 South exit, #195, towards Lexington,
  • Turn Left onto US Rt. 11 South,
  • Take the US Rt. 11 Business at split,
  • Pass Lee Chapel on right,
  • Immediately after you go through the Washington Street Intersection, there is a parking lot to your left,
  • You have found the back entrance to Southern Inn Restaurant.

David Rehfuss’ cell phone # is 703 371 2564.

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