Funerary jar with White Tiger of the West

Historical period(s)
Southern Song dynasty, 12th-13th century
Stoneware with celadon glaze
Longquan ware
H x Diam: 33.8 × 13.3 cm (13 5/16 × 5 1/4 in)
China, Zhejiang Province, Longquan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Funerary jar

bird, China, funerary, green glaze, Longquan ware, Guan type, Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware, tiger, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

This funerary jar, which presumably held grain, is decorated with cosmological symbols. The kittenish tiger coiling around the jar's elongated neck represents the White Tiger of the West; it would have been paired with another jar bearing the Green Dragon of the East. Other figures include two people and a dog. The Chinese character for sun appears on a disk above a cloud on the neck. The lid is embellished with clouds and a bird, perhaps a crane, a symbol of immortality. The crackled glaze, somewhat uneven in color, is an example of Guan-type glaze made at certain kilns in Longquan.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 47.
  • Warren E. Cox. The Book of Pottery and Porcelain. 2 vols., New York. vol. 1: p. 139ff, pl. 37.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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