Fine & Rare Chinese Song / Yuan Dynasty Buddhist Sanskrit Jar
This very rare jar was made during the Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1279) or possibly the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1279 - 1368) and has been excavated from a Buddhist site in Yunnan province, then ,a particularly isolated part of China. Whilst the clay was still soft, prior to firing, the entire outer surface of this jar was incised with twelve bands of characters of a Sanskrit-type script, the Buddhist script of that area at the time. The cover has also been decorated, having been incised with a geometric pattern centered around an eight-pointed star, or wheel. To the underside of the cover are more incised Sanskrit-type characters. We have not had the text translated but it undoubtedly relates to Buddhist scriptures or prayers.
Interestingly, toward the lower body on one side is a column of incised Chinese characters.
The surface colour of the pottery, under the iron-rich Yunnan burial soil, varies from a pale yellowish-brown to a dark grey, this due to uneven conditions in the kiln during firing.
Height 24.5 cm (9.5 inches). To the base and up part of the lower body are faint stress fractures, possibly caused during the cooling process. Notwithstanding this, this jar is in fine condition with no sign of any repair or restoration.
Similar vessels first appeared on the market several years ago but were soon snapped up by eager collectors with only a few still remaining available for sale from sellers such as ourselves who purchased those that we could at the time. This jar has been in our own private collection of Yunnan Buddhist vessels for many years and is an exceptional example of its type. It has not previously been offered for sale.
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