Miniature blue-splashed stoneware ewer

China, Tang dynasty, 618 – 906

Height: 31⁄inches, 8 cm

A miniature stoneware ewer, the rounded body supported on a short, flared foot. The short neck tapers upward and terminates in a flared rim. A double stranded loop handle connects the rim to the shoulder while a short, straight spout emanates from the opposite side. The exterior is covered in a yellowish-brown glaze that stops well above the foot, and milky-blue splashes are visible around the shoulders, the spout and the rim. The unglazed foot and slightly convex base show the fine and smooth greyish-white stoneware body.


This elegantly potted vessel is a miniature form of the typical wine ewers of the Tang dynasty and a rare example of a scholar’s object from this period, functioning probably as a water dropper. Phosphatic splashed, black-glazed wares were famously produced in Henan province, notably at the Lushan and Huangdao kilns. It seems possible that this style of ware was inspired by ash-slag dripping from the insides of the wood-fired black ware kilns in the Tang dynasty — although, in this case, the application of the ‘splashes’ appears to be quite deliberate.[1] A closely comparable black-glazed stoneware ewer of similar shape dated to 8th or 9th century of the Tang dynasty and covered in a splashed glaze, is in the Meiyintang Collection.[2] Another comparable Tang-dynasty black-glazed ewer with blue splashes, of similar shape but larger in size, possibly produced in the Lushan kiln in Henan province, is in the Jiurutang Collection.[3]

  1. Wood, N. Chinese Glazes – Their Origins, Chemistry and Recreation, A&C Black, London, 1999, p. 141
  2. Krahl, R. Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. One, Paradou Writing, London, 2006, no. 220, p. 134
  3. Jiurutang ed., The Jiurutang Collection, Hong Kong, 2003, no. 152, p. 231