Detail View: The AMICA Library: Jar

AMICA Library Year: 
Object Type: 
Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Creator Nationality: 
Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: 
Full view
Creation Date: 
Southern Song period, 13th century
Creation Start Date: 
Creation End Date: 
Materials and Techniques: 
Porcelain with carved and combed design under glaze (Qingbai ware)
Classification Term: 
Creation Place: 
China, Jiangxi Province
H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); D. 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: 
Asia Society
Owner Location: 
New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 
Credit Line: 
Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
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. Qingbai wares, which were produced in Jizhou, Nanfeng, and Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province, are named for the color of their glaze rather than the place where they were made. Qingbai can be translated as "blue-white" while yingqing, the other name for these wares, means "shadow blue." As can be seen in this elegant jar of the Southern Song period (1126-1279), Qingbai wares are admirable for the delicacy and translucency of their glazes and for the way the glaze pools in areas created by the shape and decoration of the ceramic. The bulbous shape of this jar is unusual in Qingbai ware. It is enhanced by the lotus, peony, iris, and mallow sprays carved against a background of combed patterns on the body.

The use of porcelain to make this jar is the result of technical developments in the production of Qingbai ware. The earliest of these wares, produced during the 10th and 11th centuries, were made using local clay with a fine white body that lacked a certain plasticity. Beginning in the 12th century, a type of clay known as kaolin was mixed with local clay to create the body of Qingbai ware, giving a much greater plasticity. This development during the Southern Song period paved the way for the evolution of porcelain in China during the 14th and 15th centuries, and for the eventual spread of this technology throughout the world, securing one more contribution of Song-period China to the history of ceramics.

Related Document Description: 
Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 68.
Related Document Description: 
Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd. New York: Asia Society, 1970, pp. 55, 73.
Related Document Description: 
Mowry, Robert D. 'The Sophistication of Song Dynasty Ceramics.' Apollo (November 1983), pp.395, 402.
Related Document Description: 
Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 118, 119.
Related Document Description: 
Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 77, 135.
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