This book explains and illustrates as many varieties of Ming ceramics as possible. The text is based primarily on information obtained from Chinese sources and the occasional notes made by Europeans who visited China in Ming times. To these, Mr. Hobson has added his own penetrating deductions, made after careful study of well-authenticated specimens and of observation by earlier scholars. His presentation is not only clear and precise but also incontestably authoritative and at the same time highly readable.
The first twelve chapters of the book deal almost exclusively with the porcelain produced at Ching-te Chen; the next four, with the porcelain and pottery made at other centers. The bulk of the 129 pieces illustrated (12 in color) are drawn from private collections, but references is also made to important examples in museums. Of particular interest are Mr. Hobson's comments on collecting and on the identification of genuine Ming wares. A special chapter on marks, inscriptions, and Chinese characters is included, together with a selected bibliography.