Ovoid Bottle, Huairen ware, late 12th century. Stoneware with dark-brown glaze and « cut-glaze » decoration, 8 9/16 x 7 11/16 in. (21.75 x 19.53 cm). Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton 2000.86.2 ©2014 Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
Probably intended for wine, this ovoid bottle is covered with a nearly black glaze into which a decorative scheme was incised and carved before firing. The dark glaze design elements appear against the light grey ground of the exposed body clay. Commonly known as the « cut-glaze » technique, this decoration was most likely inspired by the partially glazed brown and white ceramics produced during the Taang dynasty (ninth century) at the Huangpu kilns.
The technique was fully developed at a number of Cizhou type kilns during the early Northern Song (960-1127) and it rose to prominence during the Jin period (1115-1234). This particularly fine example with precisely carved floral patterns was made in the Huairen kilns in northern Shansi province.