Storage jar (zun)

Gray pottery beaker in the shape of a tsun (^c^)

Wheel-thrown vessel, nearly cylindrical with everted rim, with high footrim (cylinder with everted base) added. Closely spaced turning marks on the interior.

Clay: fine-grained unglazed pottery clay, well polished and gray on surface. Accretions of earth.

Decoration: The body is divided, apparently by the use of a carved rib or die in the final stage of throwing, into five zones, separated by paired or triple “bowstring” lines. The zones at top, bottom, and center are filled by evenly spaced pairs of vertical lines, incised freehand. In all three of these zones, two vertical flanges with incised horizontal lines alternate with two plain circular bosses, the four spaced equidistantly around the vessel and arranged so flanges in the top and bottom zone frame a boss in the central zone, or vice versa. On the base, two pairs of horizontal “bowstring” lines, also formed with die or during the turning process, divide the base into three equal zones.

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Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1250-1050 BCE
Medium
Unglazed gray earthenware
Dimensions
H x Diam: 23.3 × 18.2 cm (9 3/16 × 7 3/16 in)
Geography
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Gift of James G. and Ann S. Ling in memory of the collector and connoisseur Helen Dalling Ling
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1984.1a-c
On View Location
Sackler Gallery 23b: Anyang: China's Ancient City of Kings
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Container (zun)

Keywords
China, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE)
Provenance

To 1949
Helen D. Ling (died 1982), Shanghai and Singapore, to 1949 [1]

From 1949 to 1984
James G. Ling, Bethesda, Maryland, given by Helen D. Ling in 1949 [2]

From 1984
Freer Gallery of Art, given by James G. and Ann S. Ling in 1984 [3]

Notes:

[1] Helen Dalling Ling was a collector who operated The Green Dragon antiques shop in Shanghai from 1938 to 1950, and a shop under her own name in Singapore from 1951 to 1982. According to James G. Ling, this object was collected in China during the war (see Curatorial Note 7 in object record).

[2] According to Curatorial Note 7 in the object record.

[3] See note 2.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

James G. Ling
Dr. and Mrs. James G. and Ann S. Ling
Helen D. Ling died 1982

Description

Gray pottery beaker in the shape of a tsun (^c^)

Wheel-thrown vessel, nearly cylindrical with everted rim, with high footrim (cylinder with everted base) added. Closely spaced turning marks on the interior.

Clay: fine-grained unglazed pottery clay, well polished and gray on surface. Accretions of earth.

Decoration: The body is divided, apparently by the use of a carved rib or die in the final stage of throwing, into five zones, separated by paired or triple "bowstring" lines. The zones at top, bottom, and center are filled by evenly spaced pairs of vertical lines, incised freehand. In all three of these zones, two vertical flanges with incised horizontal lines alternate with two plain circular bosses, the four spaced equidistantly around the vessel and arranged so flanges in the top and bottom zone frame a boss in the central zone, or vice versa. On the base, two pairs of horizontal "bowstring" lines, also formed with die or during the turning process, divide the base into three equal zones.

Published References
  • Sarah Booth. The Freer's Rare Catch: Gallery Acquires 30 Flawless Ancient Chinese Ceramics. Washington, May 23, 1984. p. B2.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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