Stoneware jar with cobalt blue glaze dripping down vessel; foot and bottom ? of jar left unglazed
Cobalt glazes, no doubt inspired by imported Persian wares, first appear in China in the Tang dynasty (618–907). After the fall of the Tang, however, access to cobalt sources dried up with the changing political climate. Cobalt would re-emerge as an important element in Chinese porcelain decoration, after trade with Central Asia and Iran was re-established by the Mongols in the thirteenth century.
Covered jar of celadon glaze, body decorated with peony scroll, with base decorated with lotus petals. The circular contours of a peony scroll have been slightly compressed to complement the squat belly of the jar.
Peonies are associated with wealth, imperial splendor, and the erotic appeal of a beautiful woman. In this small but exquisite example of Longquan ware, the circular contours of a peony scroll have been slightly compressed to complement the squat belly of the jar. The Longquan kiln Zhejiang Province emerged as the primary center of celadon ceramics in second quarter of the thirteenth century, when the Song court established its southern capital at nearby Hangzhou. It reached its peak of production during the first quarter of the fourteenth century, when this jar is made, and were exported to markets in East and Southeast Asia, as well as the Middle East.
Globular-shaped footed stoneware vessel with four looped handles at lip and white glaze
Chinese potters perfected white glazes by the seventh century. Sturdy, white-bodied stonewares with white glaze such as this impressive jar are known as Xing ware (Xingyao); the best of these were made at the Qicun kiln in Shaanxi province, near the Tang capital city of Changan (modern Xi'an), and sent to the royal court as tribute.
The most treasured of the Chinese ceramics were the white wares, like this storage jar, from the kilns in Henan province. While the best of these were given to the imperial court as tribute ware, others found their way abroad, where they inspired local potters to attempt white wares.
Wide-mouthed stoneware jar with bands of incised rib-pattern decoration and two ring handles and light coating of olive glaze.
The bronze prototype for this stately jar is probably a form known as lei, which was popular throughout the Zhou dynasty. The handles that simulate metal rings, the smooth taut form of the jar, and the wide bands of incised rib patterns all contribute to the appearance of hard and concise metalwork. The vessel was once covered with a light coating of olive glaze indicating that it is high-fire stoneware, fired to temperatures of 1100 degrees Celsius or higher.