Collecting Case B3

Charger, porcelain with underglaze blue


China, Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644
Kraak ware
DBC 10633.1

Porcelain moon shaped flask with clair de lune glaze,

Bianhu Moon Shaped Flask

China, Qing Dynasty, 1644–1911, reign of the Emperor Qianlong (1736–1795)
Porcelain with “clair de lune” glaze
DBC 10761.1

Originally made as a wine container in bronze, the bianhu or flattened hu shape was used for centuries. Qing potters were renowned for their monochrome glazes of which clair de lune or sky blue (tian qing) is one of the most treasured. The blue tint comes from cobalt oxide. There is a Qianlong reign mark in underglaze blue on the base.

Ovoid Jar, marbleized glazed earthenware,.

Ovoid Jar

China, Tang Dynasty, 618–907 CE
Marbleized glazed earthenware
DBC 10874.1

The marble technique was developed in the Tang dynasty when extraordinarily proficient potters twisted and kneaded together two different color clays to achieve a pattern reminiscent of wood grain. It was then covered with a clear glaze. Vessels made with this technique are rare, especially in this full, round form.

Two White porcelain jar with cobalt blue underglaze

Two Jars

China, Yuan Dynasty, 1279–1368
Porcelain with underglaze cobalt blue
DBC 11109.1, 11110.1

The most important innovation in ceramics during the Yuan dynasty was painting designs in cobalt blue on porcelain then coating the piece with a clear glaze, which at that time had a slight bluish cast. These two thickly potted globular jars are decorated with sketchily painted flowers.

Iron spotted Qingbai ware set

Ewer and Vase on Base

China, Yuan Dynasty, 1279–1368
Iron spotted Qingbai ware
DBC 10709.1/2, 10552.1

Iron began to be applied in spots on Qingbai ware during the Yuan dynasty. This would have been considered outrageous during the preceding Song dynasty when the rulers prized purity and restraint. The double gourd-shaped ewer sports a dragon handle. The vase is an unusual form with double handles and is raised on a pierced lozenge-shaped openwork base. Both were made for export throughout Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines.

Ewer and Warming Bowl, Qingbai

Ewer and Warming Bowl

China, Southern Song Dynasty, 1127–1279 CE
Qingbai ware
DBC 11030.1/3

This wine ewer has six lobes, a curved slender spout, and a lion-topped lid. The bowl, which would have held warm water, is in the shape of a lotus flower. Both are delicately incised and coated with a pale blue glaze. It is remarkable that the ewer and bowl have remained together.

Kendi or Ewer, porcelain with underglaze blue and overglaze enamels

Ewer or Kendi

China, Qing Dynasty, 1644–1911, reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662–1722)
Porcelain with underglaze blue and overglaze enamels and gold
DBC 11001.1/2

The palette and style of the decoration on this ewer was inspired by Japanese Arita-ware Imari porcelains. It combines blue and iron red to depict a flowering prunus tree and was made specifically for export.

Kendi, porcelain with underglaze copper red


China, Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Xuande Period, 1426–1435
Porcelain with underglaze copper red
DBC 10666.1

The crescent-moon shape of this kendi suggests it was made for export to Islamic countries in Southeast Asia, possibly Indonesia. It is decorated with a five-claw dragon in reverse on the white ground and bears a six-charter Xuande reign mark. The copper-red underglaze was very difficult to control in the kiln.

Jar, Banshan, painted earthenware,


China, Neolithic Period, Majiayao Culture, 3300–2000 BCE, Machang phase
Painted earthenware
DBC 10297.1

Large jars like this were used to store water or grain. They were coil built and kiln-fired at about 900 to 1000 degrees centigrade. The exuberant painted geometric decoration indicates the earliest use of a bruch in China. Surviving examples have usually been found in tombs.

Bronze Gu Vessel


China, Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644
DBC 10961.1

This ritual vessel was used for wine. It is a revival of a form and motifs dating back to the Shang dynasty.

Gu Form Vase, Dehua porcelain

Gu-form Vase

China, Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, 17th century
Dehua porcelain
DBC 10514.1

Kilns in the vicinity of the town of Dehua in Fujian created fine-grained, vitreous white porcelains coated with a thick, smooth white glaze. They came to be known as blanc de Chine or China white. The shape of this vessel is based on the classic bronze wine goblet form, gu.

Stoneware Musical Libation Cup

Musical Libation Cup

Korea, Old Silla 57 BCE–935 CE, 5th–6th centuries
DBC 10635.1

This rare, fine libation cup was used in ritual ceremonies. It has a clay pellet inside to produce a musical sound. The perforations permit air to circulate during firing as well as to decorate the vessel. It is thinly potted and has a natural ash glaze.

Black earthenware Stem Cup

Stem Cup

China, Neolithic Period, Longshan Culture, 3000–1900 BCE
Black earthenware
DBC 11077.1

Fashioned from fine-grained clay, trimmed on a wheel to eggshell thinness and burnished, wares like this cup were fired to about 1000 degrees centigrade in a reduction kiln atmosphere. Reducing the oxygen in the kiln resulted in the iron-rich clay turning black. They were used in rituals and have been largely found in burials.

 Kraak ware Kendi


China, Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Wanli Period, 1573–1619
Kraak ware
DBC 11082.1

This is decorated with floral sprays alternating with bamboo. The neck has plantain leaves.

Grey beige glaze Kendi


China, Yuan Dynasty, 1279–1368
Glazed stoneware
DBC 10715.1

The hard grey body is covered with a grey beige glaze. Kendi were used for water in Buddhist rituals.

Earthenware storage jar

Storage Jar

Korea, Old Silla 57 BCE–935 CE, 4th–5th centuries
DBC 10751.1

Kimhae ware is named for the southern coastal region where it was made from about the 1st to 4th centuries CE. It was wheel thrown and fired in a climbing or tunnel kiln. It is decorated with an incised comb pattern.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

We use cookies to deliver our online services. Details and instructions on how to disable those cookies are set out in our Privacy Policy. By clicking I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies unless you have disabled them.

> >