Bottle | China, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), 14th century


Object TitleBottle
DateYuan dynasty, 1271–1368, 14th century
Dimensionsheight 25.5 cm
CollectionUniversity Museum and Art Gallery, HKU
Accession No.HKU.C.1978.0632

Bottles of this shape take their name from Song dynasty literary references to decanters for rice wine (yuhuchun), although they may also have been used as water containers. They were made in a variety of forms to suit different tastes: from monochrome, blue-and-white and overglaze painted examples, to elaborately gilded works in precious silver. Yuhuchun decorated with cobalt blue were not produced until the Yuan dynasty, when the reopening of overland trade routes between China and Central Asia allowed Chinese potters to import high-quality cobalt more easily.

Blue and white yuhuchun were larger than earlier-made examples and sometimes had faceted shapes, reflecting different approaches in the Yuan dynasty to the properties of clay as an expressive medium. They were often decorated with imagery inspired by designs found on objects from the Islamic world, such as the patterns resembling Islamic calligraphy seen around the waist of this bottle.