Masterpiece Ceramic Exhibition of Yangzhou Museum
Tang • Green-yellow-glazed Two-ear Jar with Curly-cloud Patterns of Brown and Yellow Dots
Excavated in the Tang City Relic Site of Yangzhou city in 1974, this pot is regarded as a rare treasure among all the ceramics made by Changsha Kiln given its large size, exquisite decoration and charming glaze. With a curly opening rim, high neck, bulging belly and flat bottom, this piece features two symmetrical flat-ring-shaped knobs, which are embellished with clouds patterns and the Chinese character of “wang”, meaning “king”. Its beige pottery body is covered with a coating of green-yellow glaze, and adorned with curly clouds composed of brown and green dots in different sizes, among which scatter motifs of lotus leaves and blossoms.
Eastern Han • Yellow-glazed Pottery Building
Unearthed in the Laohudun Eastern-Han Brick Tomb of Ganquan town, Hanjiang district of Yangzhou city in 1984, this burial pottery building is an epitome of Eastern-Han architectures, serving as a physical evidence for the study on the form, structure and style of buildings in that historical period. With two stories, this building has an opening of two doors on the ground floor, each door attached with a beast head biting a ring. Its second floor, with a five-spine roof, has two separate windows on the front side, the exterior wall between is embellished with a ring-biting beast head. Flying eaves built with half-circle tiles are placed between the two stories. The building is covered with yellow glaze except the areas of windows, doors and eaves where are adorned with green glaze.
Eastern Han • Four-knob Porcelain Pot
Excavated from the Eastern-Han Brick Tomb in Xiangxiang village, Ganquan town, Hanjiang district of Yangzhou city in 1980, this pot is worthy of the title as the representative of the early works of Yue Kiln with its decorous shape, lustrous thick glaze and evenly-distributed crack patterns. It has an upright rim with curved surface, a short neck, curved shoulders, a bulging belly and a bottom with a convex interior. A spine circles its shoulder area, below which there are four symmetrical knobs in the shaped of curly strips. The pale grey body is decorated with dense linen patterns and covered with greenish yellow glaze. Small cracks can be seen on the glazed surface, while traces of glaze flowing are visible in the lower part of the pot.
Western Jin • Grey Pottery Burial Vase
Unearthed from the No.93 Han Tomb in Xupu town, Yizheng city under jurisdiction of Yangzhou city in 1981, this grey pottery burial vase is composed of four stories, the top story of which was crafted separately from the other three. With a five-spine roof, the round room on the top floor sits on a circular plate, under which is a floor of four symmetrical shrines, each housing one sitting statue with a servant standing beside and a bird erecting in front, head-raised towards the statue. The third floor from top has an open door in the front side, flanked by two towers with double-eave nine-spine roof. Four cylinder-shaped jars are placed in symmetry on this floor, among which there erect six standing statuettes wearing hats and robes with diagonal plackets and holding weapons in the right hand. The bottom floor is a cylinder base that has a smaller diameter in the middle than that of the two ends. Bricks with inscriptions meaning “Zhang Ping from Yu county, Guangling prefecture”, “July 10th, the seventh year of Emperor Yuankang’s reign” were found in the tomb where this burial vase was excavated.
Southern Dynasties • Green-glazed Pot with Chicken-head-spout and Lotus-petal Relief
Unearthed in Heye Wangzhuang, Xihu town, Yangzhou city in 1972, this pot has a small plate-shaped opening, a narrow neck and a round belly. While a raised line circling its shoulders, its belly is surrounded by lotus-petal relief. A chicken-head with prominent eyes, a pointed beak and a long neck constitutes the pot’s spout, on the opposite of while erects a half-circle handle. Between the spout and the handle lie two symmetrical bridge-shaped knobs with two holes on each, used to be hung with ropes. The pot is covered with green glaze in its upper half while traces of flowing glaze can be seen in the lower area.
Sui • Green-glazed Piyong Inkslab
Passed down from earlier generations, this inkslab was named after its resemblance to the shape of “piyong”, a circular ancient architecture surrounded by water. The round inkslab has an upright rim, a bottom whose interior side is raised even higher than the rim, and 11 hoof-shaped feet. Smooth greyish red pottery body is exposed on the interior bottom, while its exterior wall is covered with thin, uneven green glaze and decorated with raised lozenge patterns of thick lines.
Tang • Tri-color Pottery Mortar
Unearthed in Mount Wutai, Yangzhou city in 1958, this mortar in a decorous shape was a very practical vessel in ancient times. It has an opening that tapers at the upper end, slightly expanded shoulders, a bulging belly and a flat bottom. The area from opening to lower belly is covered with naturally-mixed glaze in four colors, yellow, green, white and brown, creating a brilliant visual effect. Traces of flowing glaze do not reach the bottom, exposing part of the white body, which is smooth, solid and heavy.
Tang • Green-glazed Flat Pot with Green Arabian Inscription
Unearthed in the Tang-dynasty Wood-coffin Tomb in Dongfeng Brick & Tile Factory of Yangzhou city in 1980, this pot is a testimony to the mingling of Chinese and Western cultures in the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) as its shape, inscriptions and decoration are all typical of Western Asian ceramics while it was actually made in Changsha Kiln of China. It has an opening with a curly rim, upright neck, slanted shoulders, olive-shaped flat belly and a flat bottom. Four knobs sit in symmetry on its two sides to be hung with belts. Covered with green glaze all over, this pot features S-shaped cloud patterns in green on one side of its belly while on the opposite side there is an Arabian inscription meaning “Allah is greatest”.
Tang • White-glazed Pottery Pot in Shape of Leather Bag
Excavated from the Tang-dynasty soil horizon to the southeast of Wenchangge of Yangzhou city in 1991, this pot, in the shape of a leather bag that becomes larger when the position on it goes lower, should be a piece that was made by Gongxian County Kiln given its quality of pottery body and color of glaze. On the top left of the pot erects a straight tube-like spout, girdled by a raise circle at the bottom, while its top right features a curly-tail-shaped knob. Right on the top there is a loop handle, and a circular base at the bottom. Decorative appliques are applied onto two opposite sides of the pot belly, which is also adorned with simple carved curvy lines to imitate the texture of leather. Engobe was used before the white glaze was applied onto the white pottery body all over except the base. The lustrous white glaze, which shows a tinge of pale yellow, features densely-arranged natural cracks.
Yuan • Dark-blue-glazed Plum Vase with White-dragon Pattern
As one of the “greatest treasures” of Yangzhou Museum, this plum vase, or meiping, named after its function to keep plum branches, has an elegant shape, a vivid and exquisite decorative pattern, and an eye-catching pure dark-blue glaze. With a narrow mouth and a short neck, the vase enlarges from the neck downwards in a gradual way, then tapers at the lower half, and finally widens a little bit to form a stable base. Around the belly area of the vase there is a pattern known as “dragon chasing fireball”, with a raised head, two horns stretching backwards, and sharp, piercing eyes highlighted by the blue-glaze-dot pupils against the while-glazed body. The long-necked dragon opens its mouth, showing its sharp buckteeth, and stretching its four claws with pointed nails. Around the dragon are four flame-shaped clouds, each decorated with a small pearl at the bottom. These clouds look just like floating coral trees, serving as a foil to the magnificent dragon flying in the sky, with a bundle of mane hair flowing backwards along its flight. The pure dark-blue glaze of this vase, as a result of high-temperature baking, which added to the categories of porcelain glaze, laid the foundation for the later great development of porcelain-making techniques in Jingdezhen during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912 AD).
Tang • Tea-fanning-glazed Pillow with Maple-leave Patterns
Excavated in Dongfeng Brick & Tile Factory of Yangzhou city in 1980, this pillow in the shape of a hollow cuboid, has a curvy upper face and a hole on one of its sides. A maple leave was attached on both its front and rear walls before the tea-fanning glaze was applied, ending up with two body-exposed spots in the shape of maple leaves. This piece made by Shouzhou Kiln is covered with glaze all over except the bottom, revealing the smooth greyish white body.
Southern Tang • Green-glazed Pot with Handle
Excavated from the Luderou Tomb of Southern Tang in Cansang Brick & Tile Factory of Xihu town, suburbs of Yangzhou city in 2001, this pot is believed to be made by Ding Kiln based on its features, quality of body and color of glaze. It has a tapering opening rim, gourd-shaped belly, flat bottom with a convex interior, a slightly curvy tube-like spout, a handle combining five strips, and a lid with its knob featuring curly snake. Its sturdy body in greyish white is covered with evenly-applied green glaze, on which small natural cracks can be seen.
Northern Song • Greenish-white-glazed Incense Burner
Passed down from earlier generations, this practical incense burner in a beautiful, decorous shape is mainly composed of a ball which can be either separated or combined into one. While the upper half of the ball is covered with flame-shaped openings, the lower half is simply decorated with a sunken line that forms a surrounding circle. Its base is composed of a thin neck that supports the ball and a high ring-shape bottom. Its sturdy white body is covered with lustrous jade-like greenish-white glaze only on the exterior.
Northern Song • White-glazed Hexagonal Pillow with Brown Dots and Carved Floral Patterns
Passed down from earlier generations, this hexagonal pillow has a slightly sloped upper face featuring a hexagonal frame composed of carved parallel lines, in which there are 12 floral patterns each consisting of seven or eight brown dots. Rectangular frames were carved on all of the six sides of the pillow, one on each side, filled with deep-line carved chrysanthemum flowers on the front and back sides, and orchid motifs on the rest. All the sidelines and corners are embellished with brown dots. The greyish white body is covered with white glaze all over except the bottom.
Yuan • White-glazed Twin-phoenix Pot with Brown Coloring
Excavated from the Caohe River bank of Yangzhou city in 1971, this large-sized pot, with a heavy, sturdy body and decorative patterns composed of unrestrained, free-flowing lines, is one of the representative pieces made by Cizhou Kiln during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368 AD). It has an upright opening, sloped shoulders, ball-like belly which tapers in the lower section and a jade-disk-shaped bottom. With a coating of maroon glaze inside, this pot is covered on the exterior with white glaze coupled with bronze embellishment. While its shoulder is surrounded with motifs of flowers alternating phoenixes, its belly area features two phoenixes with stretched wings and curly clouds in the two ruyi-shaped frames, between which there are chrysanthemum patterns. The phoenix painting was done based on the combination of double-line flat coloring, dense lines or dots, and light-brown rendering within dark-brown outlines.
Ming • Yongle Blue-and-white Pot with Intertwining-vine Patterns
Passed down from earlier generations, this wine pot, with a small opening that expands outwards a little bit, slim neck, sloped shoulders, bulging belly and ring-shaped base, features exquisite decorative patterns in an eye-catching color palette. Its fine smooth porcelain body is covered with white glaze which looks a tinge of blue. Patterns of intertwining vines in "Su-ni-bo"-blue (believed as a pigment introduced from Persia) are well-and-evenly-arranged on this pot, with large lotus vines on the belly and small ones on the neck.
Ming • Yongle Sweet-white-glazed Pear-shaped Pot with Barely-visible Patterns
Passed down from earlier generations, this pot in an elegant pear-shape, with its fine, spotlessly white porcelain body covered with mirror-like lustrous sweet-white glaze, is one of the best porcelains made during the Yongle years (1403-1424 AD). It has a slightly curvy spout, a lid with a pearl-shape knob, a high base with an enlarged rim. There are two smaller ring-shaped knobs on the lib rim and the top of the handle. Barely-seen patterns consisting of fine, free-flowing lines cover all over this piece, blossoming lotus flowers on the lid, four floating clouds on the shoulders, a pair of flying phoenixes looking back at each other on the belly, whose tails are surrounded with ruyi-shaped clouds that serve as a foil to the elegance and agility of the flying birds. There is also a line of cloud and thunder patterns circling the exterior side of the base.
Qing • Qianlong Blue-and-white Hexagonal Vase with Intertwining Branches of Flowers and Fruits
Passed down from earlier generations, this large-sized vase with elegant blue decorative patterns in various forms in one of the best pieces made by an official kiln during the reign (1735-1795 AD) of Emperor Qianlong. With a hexagonal transverse section, this vase has an opening with an enlarged rim, slim and tall neck, ribbed shoulders, long belly and a hexagonal base with a folded rim. Its white porcelain body with a smooth surface is covered with glaze that glimmers with mild luster. Eye-catching blue patterns are arranged in clear layers on this piece: fret motifs beneath the opening, on the shoulder and the base rim, ruyi-shaped patterns and flowering branches on the neck, and branches with flowers and fruits, lingzhi fungus and peaches, for instance, on the belly, with one differing with another among the six sides.
Qing • Qianlong Tea-fanning-glazed Gourd-shaped Vase
Passed down from earlier generations, this gourd-shaped vase is a product of the Official Kiln in Jingdezhen based on three-line inscription in a seal on the exterior side of bottom which means “made during the Qianlong years of the Qing dynasty”. With a girdle decorated with raised motifs, this piece has two symmetrical long, slim, curvy handles and a ring-shaped base. Its greyish black porcelain body is covered all over with tea-fanning glaze the surface of which shows tiny traces of flowing.