Wine pot

  • Porcelain with lead glazes (copper-green lead-silicate glaze accented with manganese-purple and white lead-silicate glazes)
  • 15 x 16.5 cm
  • Zhangzhou ware
  • 16th-17th century, Ming dynasty
  • Origin: Zhangzhou kilns, Fujian province, China
  • Provenance: Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.45a-b

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 6 September 2006) A ewer of the same form with nearly identical decoration, missing both handle and spout, glazed in green and yellow with touches of purple, is in the collection of the Sarawak Museum, Kuching, Malaysia, and was collected in Belawit (Moore 1970, pl. 20[c]). Moore noted that this type of ware had not been found in excavations in Sarawak.

Moore, Eine. 1970. "A Suggested Classification of Stonewares of Martabani Type." The Sarawak Museum Journal XVIII(36–37): 1–78, pls. 1–21.

2. (Louise Cort, 28 August 2006) The base of a similar ewer, with thin-line decoration incised into the body before bisque-firing, was excavated from the Tiankeng kiln site in Pinghe country, southern Fujian province (Chadō Shiryōkan ed. 1998, pl. 102), as were fragments of boxes using copper-green, manganese-purple, and iron-yellow lead-silicate glazes over incised designs (ibid., figs. 68–73 and 75).

Chadō Shiryōkan, ed. 1998. Kōchi kōgō—Fukenshō shutsudo ibutsu to Nihon no denseihin (Kochi incense-boxes—artifacts excavated in Fujian province and heirlooms). Kyoto: Chadō Shiryōkan.

3. (Louise Cort, 16 February 2007) According to Ellen Chase, the lid does not appear to be original to the ewer.

4. (Louise Cort, 16 February 2007) Ewers of this type have been excavated from a 16th-century warrior residence, the Hama no yakata, in Kumamoto prefecture, Kyushu, Japan (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan 1978, figs. 333–334). One (333, h. 12.2 cm) bears an incised peony motif beneath green glaze; the other (334, h. 13.3 cm) is plain with green glaze.

Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan (Tokyo National Museum), ed. 1978. Nihon shutsudo no chūgoku tōji (Chinese ceramics excavated in Japan). Tokyo: Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan.   

5. (Louise Cort, 3 April 2007) The ewers excavated from the Hama no yakata site are also published in Ōita-shi Rekishi Shiryōkan ed., 2003, nos. 50–51. The site was the residence of the Aso family, hereditary chief priests of Aso Shrine from circa 1207 until 1586, when they were defeated by the forces of the Shimazu warrior house from Satsuma and the residence was burned down (ibid., 17). Thus the two green-glazed ewers entered the possession of the Aso family by 1586.

The two ewers were found among twenty-one Chinese objects buried in two holes alongside the pond in the garden of the residence. The other objects included four Zhangzhou ware duck-shaped water vessels, four flasks, and two ewers of a different form. The special sighting of these finds and the predominance of vessels used for water suggests the possibility that they were used by the shrine priests for some form of ritual in which the imported lead-glazed ceramics had special significance (ibid., 17).

Ōita-shi Rekishi Shiryōkan (Oita City History Museum), ed. 2003. Bungo Funai—Namban no irodori; Namban no bōeki tōjiki (Manifestations of Southern Barbarians in Bungo province; Southeast Asian trade ceramics. Oita: Ōita-shi Rekishi Shiryōkan.

6. (Louise Cort, 27 August 2007) A ewer of this type is in the collection of the National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh (H396). It was collected at Kong Pisei, Kandal province and acquisitioned on 20 April 1925 as H.O. 132.

7. (Louise Cort, 3 November 2011) Pariwat Thammapreechakorn would prefer to date this ewer to Ming or early Qing dynasty. he questions whether it should be classified as Zhangzhou ware.

8. (Louise Cort, 14 April 2016) A ewer of related type, but with stouter profile and a rat-shaped handle, is in the Machida City Museum (h. 14.5 cm.) (Tokiwayama Bunko and Machida Shiritsu Hakubutsukan. 2016, no. 86). It is said to have been found in Indonesia. It is glazed in three colors--green with accents of yellow and purple. It is dated 15th-16th century. As Pariwat pointed out (note 7), Japanese scholars term this type of ware Kanan sansai (Southern Chinese three-color ware) and do not asociate it explicitly with production in the Zhangzhou kiln group.

Tokiwayama Bunko and Machida Shiritsu Hakubutsukan. 2016. Chugoku toji utsukushi. Tokyo: Machida Shiritsu Hakubutsukan.

9. (Louise Cort, 27 April 2016) Chinese ewers of these types (RLS1997.48.1123 and S2005.45) with three-color glazes have been excavated from numerous sites along the west coast of Kyushu in contexts associated with the mid-sixteenth century through early seventeenth century (Kawaguchi and Nakayama 2012: 97, figs. 8, 74-77. The study considers these southern Chinese finds in relationship to container jars from the Maenam Noi kilns and notes that they are often found together.

Kawaguchi Yohei and Nakayama Kei. 2012. "The Study about Southeast Asian Pottery and Chinese Tricolored Earthenware Excavated in the West Coast of Kyushu." Boeki Toji Kenkyu (Trade Ceramics Studies) no. 32:76-98.


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