Chinese / Brush Washer / Northern Song period, late 11th-early 12th centuryChinese
Brush Washer
Northern Song period, late 11th-early 12th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Brush Washer
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1067
Creation End Date: 1133
Creation Date: Northern Song period, late 11th-early 12th century
Creation Place: North China
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Stoneware with glaze with iron 'oil spots'
Dimensions: H. 2 5/8 in. (6.7 cm); D. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.144
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: Ceramics made in China during the Song period (960-1279) are among the most influential and revered in the world: they are noted for their elegant, simple shapes, lush glazes, and lively designs. These ceramics are admired in part because of the complicated and varied technologies used in their manufacture. Song ceramics are categorized into wares that often take the names of their areas of production. Cizhou wares, such as the brush washer illustrated here, are typically thickly potted, boldly decorated ceramics made for popular consumption. The Cizhou kilns were located in Ci Prefecture, Hebei Province, but this type of ware was also made in many kilns throughout Hebei, Henan, and Shaanxi provinces. The most common decoration of Cizhou ware consists of bold black-and-white patterns. However, the kilns producing Cizhou ware were also responsible for the production of ceramics with dark brown, dark blue, and black glazes. These wares are generally known as "northern black wares" or "Henan black wares" to distinguish them from similar but more famous ceramics made in southern China. These northern black wares, of which this brush washer is an example, were widely distributed and used.

The spectacular "oil spot" effect seen here was created when the excess iron in the glaze rose to the surface during the firing. This technique was also used at the Jian kilns in Fujian Province in southeastern China, and it has been suggested that the northern black wares were produced in response to the popularity of ceramics from Fujian, which were used throughout China at all levels of society.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 67.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd--Part II. New York: Asia Society, 1975, pp. 47, 96, 97.
Related Document Description: Mostra d'arte cinese: Settimo centenario di Marco Polo. Venice: Palazzo Ducale, 1954, p. 140.
Related Document Description: Mowry, Robert D. 'The Sophistication of Song Dynasty Ceramics.' Apollo (November 1983), pp. 398, 400.
Related Document Description: Sung Dynasty Wares: Ch√ľn and Brown Glazes. London: Oriental Ceramic Society, 1952, cat. no. 62.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.144
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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