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Fine &Rare Chinese Song / Yuan Dynasty Buddhist Inscribed Sanskrit Jar


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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Pre 1492: Item # 1464362

Please refer to our stock # MB777 when inquiring.
BRIAN PAGE ORIENTAL ART
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Brighton, Sussex,
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Tel: 01273 622152

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Fine & Rare Chinese Song / Yuan Dynasty Buddhist Inscribed 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, at the time a particularly isolated part of China. It is made from a relatively highly-fired pottery, the surface colour of which varies from a pale yellowish-grey to a dark grey, almost black.

Whilst the clay was still soft, prior to firing, the entire outer surface of this jar was very neatly and precisely incised with characters - we have not had the text translated but it undoubtedly relates to Buddhist scriptures or prayers. The first few characters are, unusually, in Chinese script followed by a Sanskrit-type script, the Buddhist script of that region at the time. These are not separate bands of characters, but in fact one long line in a spiral that starts at the top of the jar encircling it multiple times before ending at the base.

The jar's cover also has Sanskrit-type characters on it, although not incised but written in a red pigment.

These Buddhist pottery jars from Yunnan province are sometimes referred to as "offering vessels". Interestingly, inside this jar are the remains of a very thin and heavily-corroded copper disk.

Height 23cm (9 inches). An exceptional example in fine condition with no sign of restoration or repair.

For information: similar vessels first appeared on the market around twenty 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. Many examples were quite thinly-potted and damaged, necessitating various repairs. This particular example is more "heavily-potted" and highly-fired than some and is free from any restoration or repair. It has been in our own private collection of Yunnan Buddhist vessels since purchase some twenty years ago and has not previously been offered for sale.

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