LARGE Chinese Ming Dynasty Cizhou Stoneware Wine Jar (decorated with scene of filial piety)
This large and impressive stoneware jar was made during the 17th century at the Cizhou kilns in Hebei province in the north of China. It was made for the storage of wine and is heavily-potted with a thick clear glaze over a white slip with the decoration in underglaze iron-brown. The inner surface is coated in a thick golden-brown glaze. The base and rim remain unglazed.
The decoration comprises mainly geometric and floral patterns within bands, although around the shoulder are four main panels, one of which has a most unusual scene for this type of jar featuring three standing human figures, a seated figure and a four-legged animal, that we believe to be from one of the twenty-four paragons of filial piety, "Bao Chu Rescuing his Kidnapped Mother". From the fine Shanxi Museum / China Institute book "Theater, Life, and the Afterlife", we quote: "Bao Chu of the Eastern Han dynasty was a very dutiful son. One day, a group of bandits kidnapped his mother. Bao pursued the bandits into fleeing for their lives. Bao knelt before his mother to untie the rope around her and then took her home."
Also rather unusual is that one of these four panels remains empty - possibly where would be written the type of wine being stored.
Height 67 cm (26.25 inches). This is a jar that was made to be used and, as should reasonably be expected, there is some surface ware although for its type it really is in exceptional condition.
This jar used as a "floor vase" would make an outstanding feature in a modern setting. It is available to view at our gallery.
For reference we show two similar-sized jars of the same form illustrated in the Christie's, Paris Art D'Asie catalogue from November 2008.
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