Chinese / Cusped Bowl / Northern Song period, c. early 12th centuryChinese
Cusped Bowl
Northern Song period, c. early 12th century

View Larger Image

View Full Catalog Record Below

This image is one of over 108,000 from the AMICA Library (formerly The Art Museum Image Consortium Library- The AMICO Library™), a growing online collection of high-quality, digital art images from over 20 museums around the world. offers subscriptions to this collection, the finest art image database available on the internet. EVERY image has full curatorial text and can be studied in depth by zooming into the smallest details from within the Image Workspace.
Preview the AMICA Library™ Public Collection in Luna Browser Now

  • Cultures and time periods represented range from contemporary art, to ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works.
  • Types of works include paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculptures, costumes, jewelry, furniture, prints, photographs, textiles, decorative art, books and manuscripts.

Gain access to this incredible resource through either a monthly or a yearly subscription and search the entire collection from your desktop, compare multiple images side by side and zoom into the minute details of the images. Visit for more information on the collection, click on the link below the revolving thumbnail to the right, or email us at .

Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Cusped Bowl
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1100
Creation End Date: 1133
Creation Date: Northern Song period, c. early 12th century
Creation Place: China, Shanxi Province
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Stoneware with combed and incised design under glaze (Yaozhou ware)
Dimensions: H. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm); D. 6 in. (15.2 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.131
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: Ceramics made in China during the Song period (960-1279) are among the most influential and revered in the world: they are noted for their elegant, simple shapes, lush glazes, and lively designs. These ceramics are admired in part because of the complicated and varied technologies used in their manufacture. Since the late 12th and early 13th centuries, five of the wares produced during this period--Ding, Ru, Jun, Guan, and Ge--have been designated the "five great wares" of China.

Perhaps the most popular of all Song-era ceramics were the wares colored with green-blue-gray glazes. Yaozhou wares, such as the small cusped bowl seen here, were a widely distributed green-glazed ceramic, generally believed to have been made for popular consumption rather than for the court. Thirteenth-century Chinese records indicate that Yaozhou wares were considered crude and were used by restaurants because of their durability. However, the complicated carving of peonies and leaves found on both the exterior and interior of this bowl, which dates to the Northern Song period (960-1126), suggests that some examples of Yaozhou ware were reserved for more affluent or important clients. Such carving is more difficult and time-consuming than decorating only the interior or exterior of a ceramic. The cuspate shape of this bowl is unusual too, which suggests that it may have been made by special order. 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 once served as a basin for a small ewer.

Yaozhou wares are named after the former name of the Tongchuan region of Shaanxi Province, where the majority and the best of these pieces were manufactured. Noted for their deeply carved designs, Yaozhou wares have light gray bodies and thick, olive-green glazes. The designs and shapes of Yaozhou wares are closely related to those of Ding wares; in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, the technical innovations made at the Ding kilns were also used in the production of Yaozhou wares. These include the use of stepped saggars for firing vessels, the upside-down (fushao) firing technique, and the use of ceramic molds to impress designs on the pieces. The introduction of reusable molds also facilitated mass production.

Several reasons have been suggested for the popularity of green-glazed wares in Chinese ceramic history: green glazes derived from iron oxides are relatively easy to produce and were among the first glazes created in China. The interest in green glaze has also been linked to the Chinese preference for jade.

Related Document Description: The Arts of the Sung Dynasty. London: Oriental Ceramic Society, 1960, p. 57, pl. 53.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 62.
Related Document Description: 'Celadon Wares.' Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society 23 (1947), cat. no. 91.
Related Document Description: The Ceramic Art of China. London: Oriental Ceramic Society, 1971, pp. 33, 34, 77, pl. 51.
Related Document Description: DuBoulay, Anthony. Chinese Porcelain. London: Octopus Books, 1973, pp. 21, 23.
Related Document Description: Gompertz, G.St.G.M. Chinese Celadon Wares. London: Faber & Faber, 1958, pl. 41; London: Faber & Faber, 1980, pl. 45.
Related Document Description: Gray, Basil. Sung Porcelain and Stoneware. London and Boston: Faber & Faber, 1984, p. 40.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd. New York: Asia Society, 1970, pp. 54, 72.
Related Document Description: Mowry, Robert D. 'The Sophistication of Song Dynasty Ceramics.' Apollo (November 1983), pp. 396-97.
Related Document Description: A Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramic Art. London: Quantas Gallery, 1966, cat. no. 38.
Related Document Description: Wirgin, Jan. 'Sung Ceramic Designs.' Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 42 (1970), pp. 31, 256.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.131
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

AMICA PUBLIC RIGHTS: a) Access to the materials is granted for personal and non-commercial use. b) A full educational license for non-commercial use is available from Cartography Associates at c) Licensed users may continue their examination of additional materials provided by Cartography Associates, and d) commercial rights are available from the rights holder.

Home | Subscribe | Preview | Benefits | About | Help | Contact
Copyright © 2007 Cartography Associates.
All rights reserved.