Other Ceramics in National Palace Museum, part1
Welcome to the National Palace Museum's collection of other ceramics from the Song dynasty! Here, you can explore some of the most exquisite and unique pieces of pottery and porcelain from this era. We have a variety of different pieces on display here, including a Bright Yellow Cauldron with Animal-Mask Decorations, White Pottery Guei-Pitcher, Hibiscus-Shaped Washer with Bluish-Green Glaze, Kuan ware and a Vase with Phoenix-Shaped Handles in Celadon Glaze, Longquan ware. These pieces are all beautiful examples of Chinese craftsmanship and artistry during this time period. Come take a look at these amazing artifacts today!
1. Bright Yellow Cauldron with Animal-Mask Decorations
This incense burner in the shape of a round ting (cauldron) features two standing handles along the rim. Three tubular legs are joined to the body, and the legs have raised patterns. The entire vessel is covered with bright yellow glaze, which is very translucent and, when seen from the side, has a slight rainbow luster to it. On either side of the body is an engraved animal mask, between which one finds cash-design decorations and flowers. The bottom is engraved with an inscription of four characters in regular script that reads "Made by Zhou Danquan," making this the only work in the Museum collection that is engraved with Zhou's inscription. Zhou Danquan flourished from the late 16th century to the early 17th century, excelling in the imitation of ancient ceramics. He created unusual vessel shapes in wood and also displayed originality in creating garden scenery with piled rocks. It is said that in the late Jiajing era (1522-1566), Zhou Danquan made such a faithful imitation of a Ting ware ting incense burner that it created a commotion in the collecting world at the time. Before creating an imitation, Zhou Danquan would first "measure by hand" and then make "section pieces" to imitate the decoration, resulting in his finished pieces being almost indistinguishable from the originals. The collector Tang Hezheng admired his work so much that he spent "forty pieces of gold" to purchase the imitation, which he used as a "copy" in his collection. This indeed testifies to the great craftsmanship and influence of Zhou Danquan.
2. White pottery guei-pitcher
Pottery was an important artifact in ancient civilization. It is said that sage rulers of China's high antiquity emphasized the making of pottery as an important skill for the people's livelihood. Archaeologically speaking, pottery production appeared in various places in Neolithic times, such as the white pottery of the Danwenkou Culture fired with clay having a high percentage of aluminum oxide.
3. Hibiscus-shaped Washer with Bluish-green Glaze, Kuan ware
In the past, this cosmetics receptacle was referred to as a "washer." The whole piece is in the style of a hibiscus, with six petals. The top is modelled to resemble the flower itself in a concave design that ends in a circular indentation in the center. The blue-green glaze has been applied generously, taking on a deep blue color around areas where the glaze has accumulated, and yellowish-brown where the body can be seen through thinner areas of glaze. The crackling is sparse yet elongated, with a relatively light hue. The sides go straight down until they culminate into a ring foot, the rim of which is a dark brown. TITLE: ORIGINAL_TEXT:In the past, this cosmetics receptacle was referred to as a "washer" The whole piece is in the style of a hibiscus, with six petals. The top is modelled to resemble the flower itself in a concave design that ends in a circular indentation in the center The blue-green glaze has been applied generously, taking on a deep blue color around areas where the glaze has accumulated, and yellowish-brown where the body can be seen through thinner areas of glaze The crackling is sparse yet elongated, with a relatively light hue The sides go straight down until they culminate into a ring foot, the rim of which is a dark brown SUMMARY: In the past, this cosmetics receptacle was referred to as a "washer." The whole piece is in the style of a hibiscus, with six petals. The top is modelled to resemble the flower itself in a concave design that ends in a circular indentation in the center.
4. Vase with phoenix-shaped handles in celadon glaze, Longquan ware
This mallet-shaped vase, with its tray-shaped mouth and straight neck and body, exhibits a definite two-piece design. The neck has two handles in the shape of phoenixes or dragons in a style that emerged in the early Song dynasty. The simple lines provided by the straight sides of both the neck and the body give the piece an unaffected feel, but also represent the perfect unity of practicality and stability.
5. Vase with "Hundred Deer" motif in wucai enamel
This "hundred deer" vase has a slightly flared mouth, a short straight neck, sloping curved shoulders, a broad belly that is slightly tapered, and a flat base. Two blue lines encircle the rim, and the neck is decorated with alternating branched flower patterns and peach fruit patterns. The primary pattern encompassing the central area of the vessel consists of a herd of 89 deer painted in wucai, interspersed among rocks, grass, trees, and clouds.
6. Cocoon-shaped Hu
The piece of black pottery has a body in the shape of a silkworm cocoon. The outer surface of the vessel is decorated with multiple sets of parallel lines, in between which are engraved ninety characters of a poem written by the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795). The vessel was originally used for storing alcoholic beverages.
7. Flask with ruyi handles and figures decoration in underglaze blue
The form of this flask with paired ruyi handles was influenced by the pottery and glassware of Central and Western Asia. The flask has a small mouth, slender neck, flat round belly, and flat base without a ring foot. On each side of the neck, a bow-shaped handle links the neck and shoulders. The entire vessel is decorated with blue and white glaze, and the neck is adorned with blue and white plantain leaf patterns. Rings of upward-and downward-facing lotus petal patterns encircle the shoulders and the bottom of the flask. Both sides of the belly depict scenes of mountains and water, with rocks and streams in the foreground and trees and rocks in the middle ground. Three figures on one side and two on the other dance and play music between the distant mountains and rocks in the foreground. The features and dress of these five figures are exotic and foreign, and their postures and combined appearance closely resemble that of figures praying for dried springs to flow again in 14th-century Islamic paintings. Only two flasks with paired ruyi handles that depict human figures are known to exist to date, one of which is this work in the Museum collections, and the other of which is in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. This attests to the rarity of such works.
8. Bowl with sky-blue glaze and purple splashes, Jun ware
This deep-walled water jar with a wide inward mouth has a slightly flaring lower body that constricts to form a small base, the center of which has a sharp protruding point. It is covered with sky-blue glaze and a linear crackle pattern. The thick glaze color inside is dark, while the three-pronged support markings inside show where the glaze thickened around the spurs, which when removed left places where the brown body can still be seen.
9. Ju-i Pillow with Azure Glaze and Purple Splashes, Jun ware
This porcelain pillow is in the shape of the "ju-i" symbol. The top of the pillow is slightly indented towards the center. It has a flat base on which a poem written by the Qianlong Emperor in 1776 is inscribed.