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North China; Northern Song period (960-1127), late 11th - early 12th century
Stoneware with slip and trailed slip under glaze (Cizhou ware)
H. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm); D. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
Bottles of this type are generally known as "truncated bottles" or "truncated meiping bottles" in English because they resemble the upper half of a full-size meiping bottle ("plum wine"). The sharply tapered shape of this bottle is unique to Song-period ceramics, while the viscous dark glaze is typical of glazes used to cover northern black wares. This wide-footed, broad-shouldered bottle was probably used as a serving vessel for wine as suggested by its easily handled size and the flaring lip, which would have facilitated the transfer of wine from bottle to ewer or drinking bowl. The method of decorating this bottle is similar to that of other Cizhou wares: the light gray body was first covered with a brown mixture of clay and water (known as a slip), then the decorative ribs were added by adding trailing lines of thick, white slip down the surface. Finally, the bottle was covered with a thin, light brown glaze that appears almost black where it is densest.
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