Historical period(s)
Tang dynasty, 9th century
Porcelain with clear glaze
Xing or Ding ware
H x W: 4 x 15.9 cm (1 9/16 x 6 1/4 in)
China, Hebei province
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


China, Ding ware, porcelain, Tang dynasty (618 - 907), Xing ware
Provenance research underway.

The earliest description of Chinese pottery in Arabic records refers to a gift, presented to the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (reigned 786-809), consisting of "twenty pieces of imperial China-ware, including bowls, cups and half-cups, the like of which had never been seen at a Caliph's court before." Sent from a governor in northeastern Iran, the gift included some exceptional items that were probably acquired via the Central Asian land route. A decade or so later, larger shipments of Chinese ceramics, similar to the objects seen here, arrived by sea and became known beyond court circles. Increased demand for these imports, especially the small bowls, inspired Iraqi potters to create imitations for a wider market.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 23.
  • Sheila Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, Kjeld von Folsach, Nancy Netzer, Claude Cernuschi. Cosmophilia: Islamic art from the David Collection, Copenhagen. Exh. cat. Chesnut Hill, Massachusetts, 2006-2007. p. 9, fig. 2.
  • Oya Pancaroglu. Perpetual Glory: Medieval Islamic Ceramics from the Harvey B. Plotnick Collection. Exh. cat. Chicago and New Haven, March 31 - October 28, 2007. p. 16, fig. 2.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 65.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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