Yaozhou ware bowl with incised design of three fish in a pond

Accession Number

Yaozhou ware bowl with incised design of three fish in a pond


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
12th century - 13th century

Medium & Support
stoneware with incised and combed decoration under celadon glaze

1 7/8 in. x 4 5/8 in. x 4 5/8 in. ( 4.8 cm x 11.7 cm x 11.7 cm )

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Summer 2013
1. Yaozhou ware bowl with fish among waves design
China, possibly Shaanxi province, Northern Song, 960–1127 or Jin dynasty, 1115–1234
12th–13th century
Stoneware with incised and combed decoration under celadon glaze
Museum purchase, 1950/2.16
Yaozhou ware was famous as the so-called Northern Celadon of the Song dynasty (960–1279) and was heavily traded and copied in and outside China, influencing the development of celadon in Korea and Southeast Asia. Carving or incising was the characteristic decorative technique of earlier Yaozhou ware. Traditional Chinese art contains many rebuses, or pictorial puzzles. The word for fish in Chinese is yu, which is a homophone for “plenty” or “abundance.” The image of fish on this dish thus symbolizes a wish for bountiful food on the table and eternal prosperity.

Subject matter
small celadon bowl with incised design of fish and waves in the interior, a common motif in Song ceramics

Physical Description
a northern celadon bowl of conical shape, incised with abstract depictions of fish and waves on interior, small ring foot

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)
Decorative Arts

Collection Area

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bowls (vessels)
fish (animals)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted