Covered Five-tube Jar

Accession Number

Covered Five-tube Jar


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
10th century

Medium & Support
stoneware with glaze

13 in x 7 7/8 in x 7 1/2 in (33 cm x 20 cm x 19 cm);12 3/16 in (31 cm);9 7/16 in (24 cm);14 9/16 in (37 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase for the James Marshall Plumer Memorial Collection

Subject matter
This multi-tube covered vase or duo guan ping (多管瓶) is in the form of a lotus bud. Despite being a funerary jar, it is assumed that vessels of this form were used as drinking vessels by farmers. In this context, the five spouts may allude to the Chinese saying, "wugu fengdeng 五穀豐登,"  a wish for an abundance of the five crops of wheat, rice, barley, maize, and sorghum. Several of these vessels that have been found in tombs have fake spouts that are closed off where the spout attaches to the vessel.
Funerary jars or hunping (混瓶) were made to house the spirit of the deceased as it left the body, and the form of the jar, being a lotus flower, suggests the owner was a Buddhist. In Pure Land Buddhism, practitioners are reborn into Amitabha's Western Paradise through lotus buds. Even though Buddhists are often cremated, Chinese Buddhists often continued to adhered to traditional Chinese burial practices and rituals.  
This form was made in abundance by potters from Longquan during the 10th century, whose kilns are famous for celadon glazes.

Physical Description
A buff stoneware jar rising up from a tall foot ring in an elongated globular body with lobes tapering towards the mouth. This jar has incised decoration, and five tubes evenly spaced and protruding upwards from the shoulder. The mouth is covered with a high domed lid, incised, and topped with a lotus bud finial. The jar is covered in an olive green celadon glaze.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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celadon (glaze)
ceramic (material)
stoneware (pottery)

& Author Notes

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