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Vase with Incised Décor

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Song dynasty, 12th centuryChinaStoneware with celadon glaze

This vase is a remarkable example of a famous type of green-glazed Chinese ceramics. This kind of green-blue iron oxide glazes is called “celadon” in the Western world. The name originated from the protagonist of a famous French theatrical production, who was always dressed in green. The kilns of the Northern Chinese city, Yaozhou, were the centres of production of ceramics with celadon glazing. This rather small vessel has been decorated with diagonal incisions cut into the leathery unfired clay. When the glaze was applied, it would gather in the incisions and produce various shades of green. This vase has splendid, dense and sweeping botanical décor. This complicated method of decoration was simplified in the 12th century when the pattern was pressed into the clay with a mold. However, the shades of green and the sweeping elements were lost due to this new method..