Fine & Rare Chinese Song / Yuan Dynasty Buddhist Sanskrit Jar with Oxford TL Test
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 deeply incised with fourteen bands of characters of a Sanskrit-type script, the Buddhist script of that area at the time. A space was left toward the lower body where there are also a few incised Chinese characters. We have not had the text translated but they undoubtedly relate to Buddhist scriptures or prayers.
The cover has been neatly incised with a geometric pattern centered around an eight-pointed star, or wheel. To the underside of the cover are more deeply-incised Sanskrit-type characters, some with the remaining infill of red pigment.
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 is one of the finest examples of this type; it is relatively highly-fired and heavily-potted. The characters, not only to the jar, but also to the cover, are particularly deeply-incised and boldly executed. Buddhist jars of this general type from Yunnan have been described by some as "offering vessels"; to the inner surface of this jar are specks of gold leaf, presumably from the jar's original contents.
Height 28.5 cm (11 inches). This jar is in fine and exceptional condition with no sign of any restoration or repair.
As with many of our finer pieces, we have had this vessel tested by Oxford Authentications, the only testers of ancient pottery accepted by all major dealers, auction houses and museums worldwide, and the Thermoluminescence Analysis Report that will accompany this item is shown, confirming the date of manufacture as "between 600 and 1000 years ago".
This jar has been in our own private collection of Yunnan Buddhist vessels for many years and has not previously been offered for sale.
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