Bottle of Cizhou type

Wine bottle with a full, pear-shaped body tapering to a long, waisted neck ending in a flared mouth with lipped rim. The vessel sits on a splayed, slightly stepped foot that is unglazed on the bottom except where trimming has left a thin strip of glaze on the underside edge. The dark glaze is a lustrous rich brown suffused with fine speckles. A chip is visible on the foot ring.

The decoration consists of three registers set between bands of incised bow-string lines. The middle and largest frieze displays boldly drawn curling leaves attached to a meandering stem, a design interspersed with trilobed Sagittarius leaves. The top zone features oval leaves. The bottom register does not use the “cut glaze” technique but rather boasts a simplified decor of incised petal motifs.

Historical period(s)
Jin or Yuan dynasty, 12th-mid 14th century
Medium
Stoneware with white slip and iron glaze
Style
Cizhou or Cizhou-type ware
Dimensions
H x Diam (overall): 28.2 x 16.4 cm (11 1/8 x 6 7/16 in)
Geography
China, Shanxi or Hebei province, Cizhou kiln network
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by Charles Lang Freer Endowment and Lois S. Raphling, the Hassan Family Foundation, in memory of Dr. David L. Raphling
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F2003.1a-e
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Bottle

Keywords
China, Cizhou type ware, Cizhou ware, Jin dynasty (1115 - 1234), peony, stoneware, wine, WWII-era provenance, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)
Provenance

By 1957 to 1977
Dugald Malcolm (1917-2000), method of acquisition unknown [1]

1977
Sale, London, Sotheby's, "The Malcolm Collection Catalogue of Important Chinese Bronzes, Ceramics, and Works of Art," March 29, 1977, lot 143 [2]

By 1987 to 2001/2002
The Idemitsu Collection, method of acquisition unknown [3]

2001/2002 to 2003
Anthony Carter, Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, purchased from The Idemitsu Collection [4]

2003
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Anthony Carter, Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art [5]

Notes:
[1] In 1957 the Malcolm Collection of Chinese objects was on loan to the School of Oriental and African Studies and this object was a part of the collection at that time, as Margaret Medley studied it and published it as part of her 1976 study of Chinese ceramics. See Margaret Medley, "The Chinese Potter: A Practical History of Chinese Ceramics" [book] (Oxford: Phaidon Press, 1976), 135. The text credits Dugald Malcolm as the owner of the object. See also Mr. J. D. Pearson and members of library staff, "Report: The Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies" in The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 17, no. 1 (November 1957), 185.

[2] Sotheby's, "The Malcolm Collection: Catalogue of Important Chinese Bronzes, Ceramics, and Works of Art" [auction catalogue] (London, March 29, 1977), lot 120.

[3] See Idemitsu Bijutsukan, "Chūgoku tōji: Idemitsu Bijutsukan zōhin zuroku (Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection)" [book] (Tokyo: Idemitsu Bijutsukan, Hatsubai Heibonsha, 1987), no. 523.

[4] Anthony Carter of Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art reported that he acquired from the Idemitsu Collection in 2001 or 2002. See acquisition consideration, February 3, 2003, copy in object file.

[5] The Freer Gallery of Art purchased the object in March 2003. See purchase agreement, copy in object file.

Research Completed February 14, 2022

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Anthony Carter
Idemitsu Museum of Arts
Captain Dugald Malcolm English, 1917-2000

Description

Wine bottle with a full, pear-shaped body tapering to a long, waisted neck ending in a flared mouth with lipped rim. The vessel sits on a splayed, slightly stepped foot that is unglazed on the bottom except where trimming has left a thin strip of glaze on the underside edge. The dark glaze is a lustrous rich brown suffused with fine speckles. A chip is visible on the foot ring.

The decoration consists of three registers set between bands of incised bow-string lines. The middle and largest frieze displays boldly drawn curling leaves attached to a meandering stem, a design interspersed with trilobed Sagittarius leaves. The top zone features oval leaves. The bottom register does not use the "cut glaze" technique but rather boasts a simplified decor of incised petal motifs.

Label

The design of this bottle was created in the multi-step process of "cut glaze" that requires applying white slip to the vessel, then glazing it, and then incising into and selectively scrapping away areas of the glaze to created a design. When the potters scrapped away the glaze, in many areas they also removed much of the white slip, so that it in some places it is so thin as to be almost imperceptible to the naked eye.  Nonetheless, the slip improves the contrast of light and dark.

Published References
  • Sale of the Malcom Collection. London, March 29, 1977. lot 143.
  • Robert Mowry. Hare's Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers: Chinese Brown- and Black-Glazed Ceramics, 400-1400. Exh. cat. Cambridge, Massachusetts. .
  • Mary Tregear. Song Ceramics. London. pl. 92.
  • Jan Wirgin. Sung Ceramic Designs. no. 42, Stockholm. pl. 55.
  • Idemitsu Museum of Arts. Chugoku toji: Idemitsu Bijutsukan zohin zuroku [Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection]., Shohan. Tokyo. pl. 523.
  • Margaret Medley. The Chinese Potter: A Practical History of Chinese Ceramics. Oxford. p. 135.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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