Skip to main content

Covered Five-tube Jar


Artwork Details

Covered Five-tube Jar
10th Century
stoneware with glaze
8 11/16 in x 6 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in (22 cm x 16.5 cm x 16.5 cm);8 11/16 in x 6 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in (22 cm x 16.5 cm x 16.5 cm);10 13/16 in x 6 5/16 in x 6 5/16 in (27.4 cm x 16 cm x 16 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Henry Jewett Greene for The Mr. and Mrs. Henry Jewett Greene Memorial Collection

On Display

Not currently on display


Subject Matter:

A multi-tube covered vase or duo guan ping (多管瓶) 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:

Buff stoneware jar rising up from a tall foot ring in an elongated globular body with lobes tapering towards the mouth. The 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.

Usage Rights:

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.