Wine Jar with Eight Immortals
On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
This celadon wine jar is embellished with the popular story of the Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea (ba xian guo hai). Daoist literature describes the extraordinary origin stories of the immortals as well as their unique magical powers. They walk across billowing waves, with each individual framed by cloud patterns, denoting their celestial status. In the Yuan dynasty, the immortals are composed of seven men and one woman (He Xiangu). Their origin stories, explained in the handout in this gallery, are described in Yuan-dynasty plays (zaju), a popular literary genre.
High-fired green ware (celadon)
10 x 10 15/16 x 11 5/8 in. (25.4 x 27.8 x 29.5 cm) (show scale)
The William E. Hutchins Collection, Bequest of Augustus S. Hutchins
Storage jar with 8 Immortals Crossing the Waters (ba xian guo hai) depicted on the belly. The 8 immortals are Lu Dongbin, Zhong Liquan. Zhang Guolao, Lan Caihe, Tie Guaili, Han Xianzhi, Zhao Guojiu, He Xiangu. Legends say since they have magical powers, they can cross the seas. Thus the designs have billowing waves and cloud patterns, and generally are carved in relief.
Unglazed interior base, rim, and circular foot. Thick blue-green glaze on entire vessel. Figures of 8 immortals are unglazed. After secondary oxidization, the red color body complements the blue-green glaze. Lipped mouth; raised belly; constricted lower belly; wide and thick circular foot. Fret-scroll (hui wen) encircling neck. Incised chrysanthemum petals encircle foot.
Wine Jar with Eight Immortals, 1271-1368. High-fired green ware (celadon), 10 x 10 15/16 x 11 5/8 in. (25.4 x 27.8 x 29.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, The William E. Hutchins Collection, Bequest of Augustus S. Hutchins, 52.49.33. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 52.49.33_PS9.jpg)
overall, 52.49.33_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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What is celadon?
Celadon is a blue-green glaze, often used on stoneware, a kind of ceramic. Celadons are named due to the greenish-blue color of their glaze. Their color can vary in tone from grayish to greenish depending on the composition of the clay. The color of celadon is achieved by placing a green-colored glaze over a gray clay body and the reaction of iron oxide when the vessel is fired in a reduction atmosphere.