Chinese Antique Glossary – A

Anhua

Literal translation: ‘hidden/secret decoration’. Anhua decoration is usually applied to a white, porcelain body before it is covered in a colorless, transparent glaze. The designs are incised with a fine point, impressed, or painted on with a brush using slip. Such decoration is often difficult to see, hence the name. Anhua decoration became particularly popular in the early Ming period and was also favoured in the Qing dynasty, especially for archaistic pieces.

Arhat

A Buddhist saint who has realized selfless reality and is assured of attaining nirvana, or liberation from the cycle of suffering and rebirth. They appear in sets of 16, 18, or 36, depending on the regional Buddhist tradition. All arhats are men, with shaved heads, usually with a protrusion on their foreheads, and clad in the garb of monks. See also Luohan.