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Wine Jar with Eight Immortals

Asian Art

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.
MEDIUM High-fired green ware (celadon)
  • Place Made: Zhejiang, China
  • DATES 1271-1368
    DYNASTY Yuan Dynasty
    PERIOD Yuan Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 10 x 10 15/16 x 11 5/8 in. (25.4 x 27.8 x 29.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE The William E. Hutchins Collection, Bequest of Augustus S. Hutchins
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION 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. Condition: Intact.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    CAPTION 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)
    IMAGE overall, 52.49.33_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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