Skip Navigation

Ewer (Zhihu)

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)

As suggested by this ewer decorated with peony scrolls and plantain leaves, East-West cross-pollination of motifs and styles often fueled the production of luxury objects for foreign markets. While the plant motifs are distinctly Chinese in conception, the scrolling pattern was also common in Islamic art, and the shape is modeled on Near Eastern metal prototypes. After the Mongols conquered Song-ruled China from the north in 1279, taking control of porcelain kilns at Jingdezhen, artisans there attempted to produce underglaze red wares in addition to the blue and white; however, the copper-based red was difficult to control, and slight changes in kiln temperature or atmosphere often produced the gray color seen on this vessel.

MEDIUM Porcelain with copper-red underglaze design
  • Place Made: Jiangxi, China
  • DATES 1279-1368
    DYNASTY Yuan Dynasty (possibly early Ming Dynasty)
    PERIOD Yuan Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 11 7/16 x 8 1/4 in. (29 x 21 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    CREDIT LINE The William E. Hutchins Collection, Bequest of Augustus S. Hutchins
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    CAPTION Ewer (Zhihu), 1279-1368. Porcelain with copper-red underglaze design, 11 7/16 x 8 1/4 in. (29 x 21 cm). Brooklyn Museum, The William E. Hutchins Collection, Bequest of Augustus S. Hutchins, 52.132. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 52.132_PS6.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 52.132_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Lipped mouth; constricted neck; gall-bladder shaped belly; circular foot; long spout; neck and spout has a linked cloud-shaped piece; curved handle; cover has a small knob; below handle is pattern of 3 coins. Copper-red underglaze painting: 1. fret-scroll (hui wen); 2. banana leaf pattern; 3. fret-scroll (hui wen); 4. interlocking camellia; 5. cloud head scrolls on shoulders; 6. interlocking peony flowers; 7. changing lotus petals pattern; 8. curving grass pattern. Besides unglazed lower sections of circular foot, slight blue-green clear glaze on entire vessel. Daily used ware. Condition: Basically intact. Repaired spout.
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.