Covered box with design of paired phoenixes

Historical period(s)
Southern Song dynasty, 12th-13th century
Medium
Porcelain with transparent pale-blue (qingbai) glaze
Style
Qingbai ware
Dimensions
H x Diam (overall): 3.7 x 9.5 cm (1 7/16 x 3 3/4 in)
Geography
China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1929.14a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Container
Type

Box

Keywords
China, phoenix, porcelain, Qingbai ware, Song dynasty (960 - 1279), Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279)
Provenance

To 1929
Yamanaka & Co., Washington, DC [1]

From 1929
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Yamanaka & Co., Washington, DC in April 1929 [2]

Notes:

[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Yamanaka and Co. 1917 - 1965

Label

During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, kilns at Jingdezhen produced large quantities of covered boxes for sale in China and Southeast Asia. The boxes, which functioned as cosmetic containers, usually bear a molded bird or floral design.  The lid of this box is decorated with a relief design of two phoenixes flying toward each other. Their heads nearly touch at the center of the box and their resplendent, curled tail feathers spread out along the rim of the lid.  A pair of phoenixes is a common marriage symbol, and boxes like this may have been used as wedding gifts.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 49.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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