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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
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Cusped Bowl
China, Shaanxi Province; Northern Song period (960-1127), about early 12th century
Stoneware with combed and incised design under glaze (Yaozhou ware)
H. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm); D. 6 in. (15.2 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
Although Yaozhou wares are generally believed to have been used popularly, the complicated carving of peonies and leaves found on both the exterior and interior of this small cusped bowl dating to the late Northern Song period suggests that some examples of this ware were reserved for more affluent or important clients. Such carving is more difficult and time-consuming than decorating only the interior or the exterior of a ceramic. The cuspate shape of this bowl is unusual, too, which suggests that it may have been made by special order for an important client. The precise function of this bowl is difficult to determine. Based on a comparison with the use of similar shapes in metalwork, it is possible that it may have once served as a basin for a small ewer.
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