Important Art Object

Vase with a design of peonies and butterflies


Artist Cizhou ware
Period China, Northern Song - Jin dynasty, 12th - 13th century
Materials and techniques Stoneware with underglaze iron
Size H.19.8 MD.7.1 D.19.7 BD.13.2


The gray clay body of this vase was first thickly coated with a mixture of water and kaolin clay. Then while this white slip was still moist, motifs were incised and areas intended as background were scraped away, making the motifs stand out in white against the exposed gray ground. Finally a transparent glaze was covered over the entire piece. This type of ware, made using a technique unique to Cizhou kilns, flourished during and after the Song period. In this piece, sgraffito decoration is rather crudely rendered, giving it an unsophisticated charm.

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