Cizhou sgraffito pillow Liao-Jin dynasty

This is a pottery pillow covered in a green and a yellow glaze, with a sgraffito design on top.

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Sgraffito is a technique were a design is carved into the wet clay.In this case waves, clouds or plants, I’m not sure.

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There are some more mysteries round this pillow, to be exact; the dating of it. By researching it many suggestions were made. I found the first seller, an auction house, who dated it Tang to Liao dynasties. The dealer I bought it from dates it Song to Jin, 12th century.

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It is a reputed dealer, so I’m inclined to follow them on their dating. But the glaze reminds me of the Liao dynasty too. Similar example from a reputed dealer is dated to the Northern Song.It is a Cizhou type of pottery. Cizhou was developed during the Northern Song period in the 11-12th century. Cizhou was initially the name of a kiln area in Southern Hebei province. Cizhou ware consisted of a transparent glaze applied on a white slipped-body, but was later followed by numerous variations.

This piece is made from a grey/brown clay, and it measures 11,5 x 16,5 x 24 cm. The sides are covered with a yellow glaze, and it has a hole in it to prevent it from bursting in the kiln. The top is glazed in green. There are a few chips to the rim, a few of them restored. These chips are to be expected on these wares.

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 The yellow glaze has a very fine crazing.





So does the green, with expected dull patches on the surface. I’m overall inclined to date it to the 12th century, or there about.


In the meanwhile I found a good match in a Sotheby’s catalogue.

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