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Jar with four lugs
14th-mid 15th century


Yuan or Ming dynasty

Stoneware with iron glaze
H: 37.3 W: 35.1 D: 35.1 cm
China

Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1900.109

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Beginning in the ninth century, China sent large numbers of storage jars to destinations along trading routes to Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. The jars were made at kilns in the coastal provinces of Zhejiang, Fujian, or Guangdong, close to major port cities. Presumably most jars served as containers for commercial goods. Even after the Chinese jars were empty, they were highly valued. The uses to which they were put depended on the culture that received them. This jar reached Japan, where Chinese jars stored tea leaves used in the Japanese tea ceremony, chanoyu.