Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Greenware bowl with historical and legendary figures

  • loan

Glossary (2)

glaze, stoneware

  • glaze

    Vitreous coating applied to the surface of a ceramic to make it impermeable or for decorative effect.

  • stoneware

    Ceramic material made of clay which is fired to a temperature of c.1200-1300⁰c and is often buff or grey in colour.


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • The Barlow Collection by the University of Sussex

    The Barlow Collection

    The figure scenes inside the bowl depict historical and legendary personages, accompanied by legends in Chinese which, however, do not identify all the persons clearly. A similar piece has been discovered in a tomb datable to 1502 in Jingshan county.

    The U-shaped bowl is very heavily potted and has a high straight foot with low footring and domed base. The inside is inscribed with the character gao (‘high’, also a family name) in the centre, enclosed in a circular ring, and the inner walls are decorated, from right to left, with an official seated at a desk laid with writing utensils, a rhinoceros horn emblem beside him; a man seated at a table with a qin zither, identified as the philosopher Confucius; two men seated at a table playing chess; a man reading at a desk with inkstone and brush, a wine jar with ladle by his side, identified as the poet and renowned drunkard Li Taibo; and a man standing beside an unrolled scroll painting depicting two deer. The decoration appears to have been impressed, with a key-fret border below the rim. The outside shows a quickly incised flower scroll with simple five-petalled blooms, below another key-fret border. The light yellowish-green glaze covers the footring but leaves the base free in the yellowish-brown biscuit.

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