Lobed Dish with Overlapping Lotus Leaves, late Tang dynasty (618–907) or Five Dynasties period (907-960), 9th century. Yue ware; stoneware with pale olive-green glaze and underglaze incised decoration. H. 2.5 cm (1 in.); diam. 13.8 cm (5 7/16 in.). Bequest of Russell Tyson, 1964.776. Art Institute of Chicago ©2015 The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60603-640
Chicken-Head Ewer, 4th century, Eastern Jin (317-420). Yue ware. Stoneware with dark brown glaze, 12-3/8 x 9-7/8 x 9-7/8 in. (31.4 x 25.1 x 25.1 cm).Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton 2001.7.1. Minneapolis Institute of Arts © 2014 Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Curious « chicken-head » spouts appear on a relatively large group of 4th century celadon and brown glazed wares produced at the yueh kilns in South China. The sculptural spouts had no symbolic importance and likely evolved from late Zhou dynasty bronze ewers.
This type of ewer with a robust globular body represents the style of Eastern Jin (317-420). With time, the basic form evolved into a taller, slender bodied vessel that was more often glazed in celadon. Likewise, the humble chicken head spout was transformed into more exotic birds including the pheasant and phoenix. Eventually, the bird heads were given more prominence, being raised from the shoulder of the vessel to terminate the elongated necks of the ewer or vase.
Reliquary Jar in the Shape of a Stupa, 6th century. Yue ware. Porcelaneous stoneware with incised and applied decor under a celadon glaze, 21 1/2 x 11 1/16 x 11 1/16 in. (54.61 x 28.1 x 28.1 cm) (overall). Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton, 2002.99.2a,b. Minneapolis Institute of Arts © 2014 Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
This unusual, lidded jar appears to simulate a round storehouse with a highly stylized roof. It is likely that the vessel functioned as a container for the ashes of a Buddhist monk. Although the Taoist and Confucian custom was to bury the dead, Buddhists also practiced cremation. This reliquary would have been placed inside a temple or pagoda. Studded, fortified doors are incised prominently on the vessel wall. Evenly spaced wooden columns flank these with incised tendril patterns between them. The removable cover is quite fanciful. With scalloped eaves and a bulb-like knob, the roof shape is that of a Chinese-style Buddhist stupa. The hard, high-fired body and celadon glaze (yue ware) suggests the work was made in the south, probably in Jiangxi province.
Yue ware celadon jar, Five Dynasties, 10th Century, h.34.0cm. Gift of SUMITOMO Group, the ATAKA Collection. Acc. No. 10794 © 2009 The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka
From the late Tang dynasty into the Five Dynasties, in the area around Zhejiang Province, a new type of Yue ware was produced which was different from the « secret-colored » celadon of the old Yue ware. Utilitarian wares were mass produced, and a system of distribution was established so that Yue ware was used not only domestically but also found its way to distant foreign lands. This jar is one of those which was exported; it was excavated in Celebes Island (Sulawesh) in Indonesia, and is said to have been in the secret collection of the king there. This jar is glazed with a unique opaque celadon glaze. The variations in the glaze thickness combine with the simple, powerful wheel marks to give the pot a deep appeal. The two slab handles and four loop handles were used to secure the lid which was originally attached. Similar pieces with lids have been excavated at the Five Dynasties Tomb at Qizishan, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province.
Covered box, Yue ware, 10th century, China, Song dynasty (960 – 1279), Zhejiang Province, stoneware with incised design, 3.5 x 6.2 cm: a – lid; 1.7 x 6.2 cm, b – box; 2.3 x 6.1 cm. Bequest of Kenneth Myer 1993. 579.1993.a-b. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (C) Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Yue ware kilns hold a prestigious place in Chinese ceramic history. Located in Zhejiang province, the kilns produced the earliest green-glazed high-fired ceramics in the Tang dynasty. These wares were admired technically fro their hardness and aesthetically for their shapes and colouring, qualities without precedent in China or elsewhere. The Yue ware tradition was continued at the Longquan kilns.
Yue and Longquan Wares’, The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.108.
Jar with small lug handles, Yue ware, China, Song dynasty (960 – 1279), stoneware,8.0 cm, b – box; 2.3 x 6.1 cm. Bequest of Ken Myer 2009. 26.2009. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (C) Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney