East Asia, China, Henan province, Jin Dynasty, ca. 1115 to 1234 CE. A charming, well-preserved ceramic jar from the Cizhou Ware tradition with a bulbous body that tapers to a round foot. Above the broad shoulders of the vessel rises a cylindrical neck that has two circular perforations through it on opposite sides of each other. A slightly rolled out rim forms the top of the neck. This rim creates a nice platform for the lid, which is composed of a cylinder, also with two circular perforations on opposite sides of each other, that fits snugly into the neck and is capped by a thick disc that sits perfectly atop the rim. A long, narrow slit cuts through the top of the lid. The lid can twist inside the neck so that the perforations on inside and outside line up, perhaps for placing a stick through to keep the lid shut. The body is glazed a thick, rich white color with black/dark brown decoration of flowers, vines, and leaves around its body and the top of the lid. Size with lid: 5.35" W x 6.95" H (13.6 cm x 17.7 cm)
Cizhou Ware is especially associated with the northern Song to Yuan period of the 11th to 14th century CE, characterized by iron-pigmented brown slip atop cream white slip. Cizhou ceramics were initially intended for a middle class audience, and many domestic items were made in this style, but they prefaced the painted decoration style that would come to dominate later Chinese ceramics. What might this vessel have been used for? Depositing coinage seems like one possibility.
Provenance: private Eason Eige collection, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
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