026 Yue stoneware box in the form of a fruit

Yue stoneware box in the form of a fruit

China, Five Dynasties to Northern Song dynasty, 10th century

Diameter: 3 inches, 7.7 cm

Height: 2 1/8 inches, 5.5 cm

A stoneware box of globular form, supported on a short, recessed foot. The domed cover is evenly divided and deeply carved with six overlapping petals. It has a finial in the form of a naturalistically modelled stalk. Both the interior and the exterior of the box are entirely covered in a translucent greyish green glaze of yellowish tone, leaving only the rims unglazed and revealing the buff stoneware body. The base has clusters of kiln grit adhering.


Yue wares originate from kilns in Zhejiang province and are characterised by fine grey stoneware bodies and a grey-green glaze. Krahl points out that “many yue vessels were intended for the preparation and consumption of tea.” [1] This charming little box may well have served as a container for tea leaves or tea powder. An almost identical yue box, closely comparable in size, shape, decoration and the colour of the glaze, is dated to the Northern Song dynasty and in the collection of the Shanyu County Relic Management Committee in the Zhejiang province. [2] Another closely comparable box of similar glaze and design, dated to the Five Dynasties or Northern Song dynasty, is in the Yuegutang collection in Berlin. [3]

Provenance: private collection, Singapore

  1. Krahl, R. Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. One, Azimuth Editions, London, 1994, p. 180
  2. Zhu, Boqian, Yue Yao, Shanghai re min mei shu chu ban she, Shanghai, 1983, no. 202
  3. Krahl, R. Yuegutang – A Collection of Chinese Ceramics in Berlin, Yuegutang, Berlin, 2000, no. 125