Jar with lid

Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 19th century
Stoneware with slip and iron pigment under clear glaze
Cizhou-type ware
H x Diam (assembled): 15.2 × 13.2 cm (6 × 5 3/16 in)
China, Hebei province, Pengcheng or Tangshan kilns
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


calligraphy, China, Cizhou ware, iron pigment, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), slip, stoneware

To 1902
Thomas B. Clarke (1848-1931), New York, NY, to 1902 [1]

From 1902 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased at the sale of the Thomas B. Clarke Collection, American Art Association, New York, NY, in February 1902 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Pottery List, L. 1103, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Thomas B. Clarke 1848-1931
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
American Art Association (C.L. Freer source) established 1883


Two robust, cursively written characters decorate the jar and bid its owner good fortune (fu) and long life (shou). The jar is a food storage container for everyday use; the choice of calligraphy as the sole decoration suggests that even minimally educated people probably recognized the characters fu and shou -- words frequently added to Chinese objects because they are believed to have an efficacious power and talismanic function. The white slip that covers the jar associates the surface with paper. The spontaneous calligraphy boldly stands out, its exuberant style in harmony with the hopeful tone of the message.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.