Funerary jar | Longquan, China, Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)

Funerary jar

Object TitleFunerary jar
OriginLongquan, China
DateSouthern Song dynasty, 1127–1279
Dimensionsheight 23 cm
CollectionUniversity Museum and Art Gallery, HKU
Accession No.HKU.C.1996.1076

The jar features the characteristic thick, translucent and richly textured celadon glaze of ceramics made in the Longquan kilns. Longquan celadon was highly valued in East Asia, particularly in Japan, where this glaze came to be known as kinuta—the term for a mallet, after mallet-shaped vases from Longquan that were imported into Japan in the Southern Song and Yuan dynasties. Burial jars were among the earliest types of ceramics produced in the Longquan kilns. Many were made in pairs, one bearing around its shoulder the ‘Green Dragon of the East’, the other the ‘White Tiger of the West’—creatures of Daoist mythology. They may have been filled with aromatic oils and placed on their respective sides of the deceased, whose head would have been placed pointing north.