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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Room 38 | China from AD 800 gallery

Explore key developments in the history and culture of China, from the arts and crafts of the Song Dynasty up to the present day.

China gallery

Song greenwares

With the expansion of industry and agriculture between AD 1000 and 1200, kilns were established all over China. The centres of innovation were in the north. At the Yaozhou kilns, moulds were used for forming and decorating green-glazed wares. The nearby Jun kilns produced distinctive purple and light blue wares. In the east, the Longquan kilns initially copied the Tang dynasty Yue ware styles and then developed a smooth bluish green glaze admired for its likeness to jade. Most new shapes and glazes were imitated at smaller kiln complexes, often hundreds of kilometres away.

Yaozhou kilns

Greenware bowl with lobed rim and sides (EA1956.249) Greenware bowl with lobed rim and sides (EA1956.249)   Greenware cup stand with petal decoration (EA1956.250) Greenware cup stand with petal decoration (EA1956.250)   Greenware cup stand (EA1956.978) Greenware cup stand (EA1956.978)
Greenware bowl with boys amid peony scrolls (EA1956.435) Greenware bowl with boys amid peony scrolls (EA1956.435)   Greenware bowl with lotus decoration (EA1956.499) Greenware bowl with lotus decoration (EA1956.499)   Greenware water-dropper in the form of a fish (EA1956.1868) Greenware water-dropper in the form of a fish (EA1956.1868)
Greenware bowl with floral design (EA1956.1252) Greenware bowl with floral design (EA1956.1252)   Greenware dish with fluted sides (EA1956.1240) Greenware dish with fluted sides (EA1956.1240)   Greenware vase with diamond-shapes (EA1956.1238) Greenware vase with diamond-shapes (EA1956.1238)   Greenware vase with diamond-shapes (EA1956.1239) Greenware vase with diamond-shapes (EA1956.1239)
Greenware bowl with floral decoration (EA1956.1255) Greenware bowl with floral decoration (EA1956.1255)   Greenware meiping, or plum blossom, vase with peony scroll decoration (EA1956.1251) Greenware meiping, or plum blossom, vase with peony scroll decoration (EA1956.1251)   Greenware bowl with ducks amid waves (EAX.1265) Greenware bowl with ducks amid waves (EAX.1265)
Greenware jar with floral decoration and modern lid (EA1956.1253) Greenware jar with floral decoration and modern lid (EA1956.1253)   Greenware bowl with floral decoration (EA1956.1256) Greenware bowl with floral decoration (EA1956.1256)

Jun kilns

Small bowl with blue glaze (EA1956.516) Small bowl with blue glaze (EA1956.516)   Bowl with purple splash (EA1956.523) Bowl with purple splash (EA1956.523)   Large bowl with blue glaze (EAX.1264) Large bowl with blue glaze (EAX.1264)
Shallow dish with blue glaze (EA1956.1349) Shallow dish with blue glaze (EA1956.1349)   Deep bowl with blue glaze (EA1956.1327) Deep bowl with blue glaze (EA1956.1327)   Dish with purple splash (EA1956.1344) Dish with purple splash (EA1956.1344)
Shallow dish with blue glaze (EA1956.1348) Shallow dish with blue glaze (EA1956.1348)   Jar with blue glaze (EA1956.1325) Jar with blue glaze (EA1956.1325)

Longquan kilns

Greenware funerary jar with five spouts (EA1956.356) Greenware funerary jar with five spouts (EA1956.356)   Greenware jar with lotus petals and peony scroll decoration (EA1956.3927) Greenware jar with lotus petals and peony scroll decoration (EA1956.3927)   Greenware funerary vase with flowers and a bird (EA1956.339) Greenware funerary vase with flowers and a bird (EA1956.339)   Greenware funerary jar with spouts for holding incense (EA1956.461) Greenware funerary jar with spouts for holding incense (EA1956.461)
Greenware jar with stylized petals (EA1956.1263) Greenware jar with stylized petals (EA1956.1263)   Greenware bowl with lotus petals (EA1956.1289) Greenware bowl with lotus petals (EA1956.1289)   Small greenware bowl with slip decoration (EA1956.3057) Small greenware bowl with slip decoration (EA1956.3057)
Greenware bulb bowl with bosses (EA1956.1288) Greenware bulb bowl with bosses (EA1956.1288)   Circular greenware box with lotus flowers (EA1980.317) Circular greenware box with lotus flowers (EA1980.317)   Shallow greenware dish with fluting (EA1956.1271) Shallow greenware dish with fluting (EA1956.1271)
Greenware dish with fluting, and lotus petals on the outside (EA1956.1283) Greenware dish with fluting, and lotus petals on the outside (EA1956.1283)   Globular greenware jar (EA1956.1329) Globular greenware jar (EA1956.1329)   Greenware bowl with lotus petals (EA1980.324) Greenware bowl with lotus petals (EA1980.324)
Greenware funerary jar with dragon (EA1956.1273) Greenware funerary jar with dragon (EA1956.1273)   Greenware tripod incense burner with modern lid (EA1956.1266) Greenware tripod incense burner with modern lid (EA1956.1266)   Greenware ewer with peony decoration amid waves (LI1301.69) Greenware ewer with peony decoration amid waves (LI1301.69)

Mantou kiln

Mantou is a bread bun eaten in northern China, and describes the shape of northern kilns. They are narrow because they were fuelled with coal, which has a short flame length, and high to allow firing larger quantities in one batch. A complete firing cycle, including cooling, could last almost two weeks.

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Mould for a bowl, Yaozhou ware

Moulds speeded up the production of ceramics. Previously, decoration had been incised on plain hand-thrown or moulded pots but pressing the clay over a decorated mould was a much quicker process. Moulds were first used at northern kilns but examples very similar to this piece have been found at kiln sites near Guangzhou on the south coast, showing the movement of technology around China. Coastal kilns routinely made copies of well-known types for exporting overseas.

Mould for a greenware bowl (EA1956.1397) Mould for a greenware bowl (EA1956.1397)

Bowl stuck in its firing saggar, Jun ware

Saggars (boxes of rough clay) protected pots from dirt and ash inside the kiln during firing. In the north they were shaped to stack one on top of another, maximising the kiln capacity. This bowl has stuck to the saggar because the glaze flowed onto it and fired hard.

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Bowl stuck in its firing saggar (EAX.1564) Bowl stuck in its firing saggar (EAX.1564)
Notice

Objects may have since been removed or replaced from a gallery. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

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