Ewer with Phoenix Head
On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
The Museum's Phoenix-Headed Ewer is a superb example of qingbai, or "blue-white" high-fire ceramic. The head is wonderfully carved and modeled, and truly ferocious in appearance. The earliest ceramic phoenix-headed ewers, or vaselike pitchers, date from the Tang Dynasty (A.D.618-907) and were inspired by gold and silver ewers with phoenix heads imported from Sassanian Persia. Maritime trade between China and Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and the islands of modern Indonesia greatly expanded during the early Song Dynasty in the late tenth century, and many examples of qingbai wares such as this Ewer were exported there.
Qingbai ware, stoneware, translucent glaze
ca. 10th century
Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty
Tang to Song Dynasty
height: 14 9/16 in. (37 cm); diameter: 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm) (show scale)
Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund and Frank L. Babbott Fund
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Ewer with Phoenix Head, ca. 10th century. Qingbai ware, stoneware, translucent glaze, height: 14 9/16 in. (37 cm); diameter: 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund and Frank L. Babbott Fund, 54.7. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 54.7_detail_03_PS9.jpg)
detail, 54.7_detail_03_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2019
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Large ewer with phoenix head.
Stoneware, when high fired turns a light grey-buff color.
Translucent glaze with tints of pale blue-green and sometimes pale buff.
Wheel made pot with molded phoenix head, handle and spout applied. Details in phoenix head incised. Three incised circles on body, two raised rings on neck.
Condition: generally good, although there are firing flaws in the glaze. The following pieces are missing: top center of phoenix crest, tips of ears and one half of spout.
This may well be a tenth century or early Sung example of 'ch'ing pai' ware. It was sold to the museum as coming (by a previous owner) from Indonesia. This ewer appears to be an export version of the famous phoenix-headed ewer from the Eumorfopoulos Collection in the British Museum.
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