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Between and Mortarboard


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Ewer

Accession Number
1987/2.50

Title
Ewer

Artist(s)
Chinese

Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
9th century

Medium & Support
stoneware with glaze

Dimensions
9 in x 6 5/16 in x 6 5/16 in (22.86 cm x 16.03 cm x 16.03 cm);13 3/8 in x 8 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in (33.97 cm x 21.59 cm x 21.59 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy
The Central Asian musicians and dancers featured on this pitcher were a popular motif in art of the Tang dynasty (618–907), an especially cosmopolitan era
Bold palmette-shaped medallions featuring Central Asian dancers and musicians in appliqué or low-sprigged relief decorate this sturdy everyday ewer, which has a short tubular spout, two lugs, and a strap handle. The palmettes are formed by splashing a transparent darkish brown glaze over the relief appliqués. These popular ewers have been found all over China as well as overseas in Iran and Egypt. Muslim traders shipped them to the Middle East from their headquarters in Canton, Guangdong province, along with export wares from southern Chinese kilns and silk, another profitable commodity.
(Label for UMMA Chinese Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)

Subject matter
A Changsha zhihu (执壶) ewer and applique decor from the Tang dynasty (618-906).
The tongguan kiln, also known as the Changsha kiln in Hunan of the Tang dynasty, was known for the production of over 200 different forms for daily use exported to Central Asia and the Near East.  They were mostly utilitarian wares glazed in white, caramel and brown colored glazes with iron-oxide underglaze brushwork, as well as applique molded decorations. 

The Central Asian musicians and dancers featured on this pitcher were a popular motif in art of the Tang dynasty (618–907), an especially cosmopolitan era.  Bold palmette-shaped medallions featuring Central Asian dancers and musicians in appliqué or low-sprigged relief decorate this sturdy everyday ewer, which has a short tubular spout, two lugs, and a strap handle. The palmettes are formed by splashing a transparent darkish brown glaze over the relief appliqués. These popular ewers have been found all over China as well as overseas in Iran and Egypt. Muslim traders shipped them to the Middle East from their headquarters in Canton, Guangdong province, along with export wares from southern Chinese kilns and silk, another profitable commodity.

Physical Description
A stoneware ewer with an straight sided body and a rounded shoulder.  It tapers slightly towards the foot.  On top of the shoulder is a straight, tall neck with an everted rim.  There is a coiled handle extending up from shoulder neck junction towards rim, then curving back down and attached to shoulder.  Opposite of the handle is a short faced spout, and in between the handle and spout are two loup lugs applied to the neck-shoulder junction. Below the lugs and spout are sprig molded and applied images of Central Asian dancers and musicians, covered entirely in a straw-celadon glaze with brown glaze applied to the danceers and musicians. 

Primary Object Classification
Ceramic

Primary Object Type
ewer

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
ceramic (material)
dancers
ewers (vessels)
figures (representations)
musicians
stoneware (pottery)

2 Related Resources

Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
The Ceramic Road: Cultural Exchange in Asian Ceramics
(Part of: Exchange and Influence on Global Trade Routes)

& Author Notes

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