From our Early Chinese Collection, a very rare, large, and striking Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) stoneware jar with lid, executed in a straw colored glaze over buff colored stoneware (or proto-porcelain as it is sometimes referred to, which is clay fired at higher temperatures than pottery but lower temperatures than true porcelain, which had yet to be invented at that time). The jar has four sets of very distinctive and unusual udder-shaped protuberances in columns of 5, and four illegible, presumably Chinese characters on each side of the jar that misfired in the kiln and cannot be discerned. The knob or finial is round, and there is pie-crust decoration around the top of the lid.
We affectionately call this our "Stegasaurus jar" because of the similarity of these protuberances to the armored humps on the back of the Stegasaurus dinosaur... While of course not as old as Jurassic, (tongue in cheek here folks...) this is clearly an early piece which we confidently date as Song Dynasty. We have seen vaguely similar pieces with less pronounced protuberances that are either Tang or Song in dating, but nothing quite like this. To our knowledge, this is so far an unpublished form. Eventually, a nearly identical piece will make its way into the secondary literature from some newly published, well-heeled private collection, and the buyer of our jar will be that much more gratified in owning it.
Size and condition: 15 3/4 inches tall, 10 inches wide at widest point across protuberances. There is some glaze flaking in places and some glaze crazing lines which look like cracks, but they do not go into the body of the piece as seen from the inside.