Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art
A Tang Dynasty Straw-glazed Pottery Vessel

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Directory: Hidden: Viewable: Pre AD 1000: item # 1220018

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Ichiban Japanese & Oriental Antiques
Post Office Box 395
Marion, CT 06444-0395

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 A Tang Dynasty Straw-glazed Pottery Vessel
This small rounded vessel has a lovely tannish green mottled glaze achieved by use of straw glazing - see Foot Note. The jar has two small applied earlike handles and an evert rim. As was typical of straw glazed ceramics, the glaze stops well short of the bottom of the jar as the straw ash melted from the top down in the kiln.

This jar measures 3 5/8" high by 4" diameter at the waist; the top opening is 3 1/4" diameter and the unglazed foot measures 2" diameter. On the bottom one can clearly see the marks of the string used to remove the vessel from the potters wheel. The jar is in very condition - there are some small areas where the glaze has rubbed away over the centuries - but there are no cracks or repairs. We date it to the Tang Dynasty, (618-907).

Foot Note - History of Ash Glazes - During the Shang period (approximately 1751 1111 BCE) it appears potters began mixing ash with lime or earth to produce applied glazes. These were usually a greenish yellow with spots of deeper green.

The potters in China developed downdraft kilns earlier than anyone else. These kilns trapped more of the heat produced by the fire, which allowed the potters to fire into the higher temperatures. In large part, these kiln designs also brought about the discovery that wood ash, when heated high enough, melts into a glaze all by itself. As the flame moves through a wood fired kiln, it can deposit ashes. As the ashes melt on the surfaces of the pots they land on, they form a shiny, mottled green to amber glaze called "kiln glost". This kiln glost would mainly develop on the rims and shoulders of the pottery since those were the surfaces most likely for the ash to settle.

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