Phoenix-headed Ewer

Information

Data

Period China, Tang dynasty, 8th century
Materials and techniques Earthenware with three-colour glaze
Size H.27.8 MD.4.8 D.12.3 BD.9.5

Explanation

The shape of this ewer originates from the oinochoe of Greece, but it was imported into China by way of the Persian phoenix-headed jars of the Sassanian Empire. The ewer, representing a (garuda) phoenix with a sacred jem held between its beaks, was made with a two-part mold, and is attached with a handle in the shape of a plant stalk. Its round body is ornamented on both sides with a jewel-shaped window decorated with vine scrolls, in the center of which is a design of a beast-mask in relief. The relatively high conical foot is decorated with flower petals in relief, and the base is flat and unglazed. The ewer is covered overall with a green glaze, and in parts of the motifs, such as the beast-mask and vine scrolls, with a yellow glaze. It is an excellent example displaying glazes of especially wonderful colors.