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Covered Five-tube Jar

Chinese

Artwork Details

Covered Five-tube Jar
11th century - 12th century
Chinese
stoneware with glaze
11 7/16 in x 6 5/16 in x 6 5/16 in (29.05 cm x 16.03 cm x 16.03 cm);11 in (27.94 cm);8 1/4 in (20.96 cm);10 1/4 in (26.04 cm);4 5/16 in (10.95 cm);4 7/8 in (12.38 cm);4 7/8 in (12.38 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by Mrs. Caroline I. Plumer and the Friends of the Museum
1987/2.46A&B

On Display

Not currently on display

Description

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 adhere 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.  There is incised decoration, and five tubes evenly spaced and protruding upwards from the belly. The mouth is covered with a high truncated conical lid, incised, and topped with a dog finial.  It is covered in an olive green celadon glaze.  On the lid is accession number 1987/2.46B.

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