Guan ware Vase with tubular handles

Historical period(s)
Southern Song dynasty, 1127-1279
Stoneware with Guan glaze
Guan ware
H x W: 10.7 x 7.7 cm (4 3/16 x 3 1/16 in)
China, Zhejiang province, Hangzhou
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 13: Looking Out, Looking In: Art in Late Imperial China
Ceramic, Vessel


China, Guan ware, Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware

To 1911
Cheng Tang, China, to 1911 [1]

From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Cheng Tang in 1911 [2]

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


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 2132, 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) and Custodian(s)

Chen Tang (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


The glaze on this small vase, a product of the Jiaotan kiln, shows the dense, dark crackle characteristic of imperially sponsored Guan ware. Crazing occurs accidentally as the fired vessel cools, but the Guan crackle was induced by formulating the glaze to shrink more than the clay body, causing the glaze to fracture. Some Guan wares were made from dark clay that lends its color to the glaze crackle; sometimes, the color of the crackle was also artificially enhanced. The glaze that envelopes Guan ware, applied in several layers, is often thicker than the thin clay body.

Published References
  • Warren E. Cox. The Book of Pottery and Porcelain. 2 vols., New York. vol. 1: p. 146, pl. 39.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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