Storage jar (lei)

Gray pottery wine container (lei).

Vessel formed by coiling-and-throwing process. Elongated cylindrical neck ending in slightly thickened and flattened rim. The shoulder flattened and smoothed. Below the edge of the shoulder, the body swells to its broadest point then tapers sharply to a narrow base approximately the same diameter as the neck. Two broad horizontally pierced lugs placed oppositely just above the jar’s widest point, their upper ends overlapping the smooth shoulder band.

Clay: fine grained unglazed pottery clay, gray on the surface.

Decoration: Incised around shoulder, a pair of widely spaced horizontal lines filled in with diagonal lines forming a band of triangles. In contrast to the smooth neck and shoulder, the central portion of the body is covered with a stamped grid pattern. Over this textured area is incised an interlocking T-hook pattern, the interior spaces of which are partially smoothed. The lower portion of the jar is plain with numerous closely but irregularly spaced horizontal lines produced by the process of smoothing the surface.

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Historical period(s)
Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1250-1050 BCE
Medium
Unglazed gray earthenware
Dimensions
H x W x D: 21.5 × 21.5 × 20.5 cm (8 7/16 × 8 7/16 × 8 1/16 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
F1985.5a-c
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Container (lei)

Keywords
Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), China, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE), wine
Provenance

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

From 1949 to 1984
James G. Ling, Potomac, MD, 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 an antiques shop in Shanghai. According to James G. Ling, this object was collected in China during the war (see Curatorial Note 9 in the object record).

[2] See note 1.

[3] Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

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 wine container (lei).

Vessel formed by coiling-and-throwing process. Elongated cylindrical neck ending in slightly thickened and flattened rim. The shoulder flattened and smoothed. Below the edge of the shoulder, the body swells to its broadest point then tapers sharply to a narrow base approximately the same diameter as the neck. Two broad horizontally pierced lugs placed oppositely just above the jar's widest point, their upper ends overlapping the smooth shoulder band.

Clay: fine grained unglazed pottery clay, gray on the surface.

Decoration: Incised around shoulder, a pair of widely spaced horizontal lines filled in with diagonal lines forming a band of triangles. In contrast to the smooth neck and shoulder, the central portion of the body is covered with a stamped grid pattern. Over this textured area is incised an interlocking T-hook pattern, the interior spaces of which are partially smoothed. The lower portion of the jar is plain with numerous closely but irregularly spaced horizontal lines produced by the process of smoothing the surface.

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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