Stoneware with slip and with painted and incised design in black pigment under lead glaze (Cizhou ware, probably from Xiuwu or Cizhou)
H. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm); D. 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The zun shape of this Cizhou ware vase derives ultimately from the bronze wine vessels produced during the Shang and Zhou periods, and the reappearance of this shape in the popular ceramics of the 12th century most likely reflects the antiquarianism popular during the Northern Song period. Ceramics and bronze vessels in this shape were commonly used for family altars, and the revival of the form during the Song period coincides with a resurgence of Confucianism, which emphasized the worship of ancestors.
The peony design on the vase was painted with a black pigment on a white slip background. The vase was then covered with a transparent green glaze. Painting directly onto the slip covering the body was a technique that both saved time and enabled a more fluid design that Cizhou ware potters began using in the 12th century.