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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
Han Dynasty Bronzes
Early Chinese Ceramics
Sculpture from Tombs
Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
Tang and Liao Dynasty Metalwork
Ceramics of the Song and Jin Periods
Porcelains of the Yuan and Early Ming Periods
Imperial Chinese Ceramics of the 15th Century
Ceramics of the Late Ming Period
Qing Dynasty Porcelain
Landscape Painting in China
Jade and Lacquer in China
North China; Tang period (618-906), about early 9th century
Stoneware with glaze
H. 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm); D. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The remnants of an inscription written with a brush in black ink on the base of this cuspidor-shaped jar help to date this piece to about C.E. 835, as the inscription provides the year the piece was purchased. The glaze on the jar is thick, black and elegant. Black glazes appear to have been used primarily to decorate common objects rather than those intended for court or as burial goods, although, the fact that the piece was inscribed suggests that it might have been considered important. The function of the jar, however, remains elusive. Although it is in the shape of a cuspidor or spittoon, it is possible that this jar may have been used in the drinking of tea, possibly as a receptacle for used leaves. Tea drinking was popular in China during the Tang dynasty and this elegant vessel might be an early example of an object that was dedicated to this practice.
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