Very Rare Large Chinese Yuan Dynasty Blue & White Granary Jar & Cover (with Oxford TL Test)
This extremely rare jar, complete with original cover, was made during the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1279 - 1368). Although we have seen several jars of a generally similar form (usually attributed to the earlier Song Dynasty) we have never before seen a jar of this form with underglaze cobalt blue decoration. It is most likely a product of one of the kilns at Yuxi in Yunnan province, one of the earliest places to produce wares with underglaze blue decoration. The high-fired porcelaneous body is probably more accurately described as being stoneware than porcelain.
This type of vessel is usually described as a granary. It is "heavily-potted" and has a band of "pie crust" decoration around the shoulder; there is similar decoration also to its cover. The underglaze decoration comprises broad bands of scrolling floral and geometric patterns within lines that surround both jar and cover. The glaze has been applied to the main body but purposely not to the shoulder or lower body resulting in the cobalt blue decoration here firing black. Around the shoulder are some firing bubbles. It has a flat wire-cut base where, in its centre, is a small purpose-made drainage hole. The covering glaze is generally very thinly applied and in places to the body only traces remain.
Early large underglazed vessels from the Yuxi kilns are not widely documented and have been unknown in the West until relatively recently. Those few that are documented are generally of a more "refined" form (see our examples, stock numbers MA497 & MB140) and we have been unable to find any reference to underglazed jars of this particular form.
This is a large jar with a height of 37.5 cm (14.75 inches). It is in very good condition; there are minor chips to the vulnerable pie-crust decoration but there is no obvious sign of any restoration or repair.
As with many of our finer and rarer items, 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 with our pictures above; this confirms the date of manufacture as "between 600 and 800 years ago".
This jar is available for inspection at our Brighton gallery.
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