Entre 1000 et 1100
Grès, Gravé = incisé, Céladon
H. 5.5 x D. 11.5 cm
M.C. 6374
Don manuel, Héliot (Monsieur)

This lenticular box was produced at the famous Yue kilns in the north of Zhejiang province. When placed in the kiln, it was set face up on props inside a saggar. Its lid was fired in place, separated from the lip with props. The box is coated with a thin layer of olive-green glaze. The incised design consists of a peony flower delineated by a double line, surrounded by six small clouds in the form of buds. The shape goes back to the Tang dynasty, but examples from that period are generally taller and incised with thinner fillets.
A lid with a similar design was unearthed at the Silongkou kiln site 寺龍口 in Zhejiang (Zhejiang wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo 2002, p. 339, fig. 132, no. 6). Also found at Silongkou are bud-shaped cloud designs on a bowl attributable to the late 11th century or early 12th century (op. cit., p. 128, fig. 75, no. 5 and p. 351).
Yue celadons had undergone a certain decline in the 7th and 8th centuries, impacted by the popularity of white porcelain and sancai produced in northern China. Their revival in the 9th century is perhaps related to the fashion for tea drinking in China.
In the seventh year of the Taiping Xingguo period 太平興國 (982), the central government sent an official to inspect the kilns at Yue. This is the oldest record of central governmental control of ceramic production. The Song government innovated further by placing orders directly with certain kilns at Yue, especially in the period straddling the two Song dynasties. A saggar with the inscription guan 官 (official) has been excavated from a Southern Song stratum at the Silongkou kilns, testifying to the official nature of part of the production there (op. cit., p. 291, colour fig. 441).

Reference(s) : MINO, Yutaka, TSIANG, Katherine R., Ice and green clouds: traditions of Chinese celadon, Indianapolis: Indianapolis Museum of Art ; Bloomington : university of Indiana Press, 1986
TREGEAR, Mary, Catalogue of Chinese greenware in the Ashmolean Museum Oxford, Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1976
Wang Guangyao 王光堯, « Songdai guanyao zhidu chu tan » 宋代官窯制度初探 [Examen préliminaire du système des fours officiels de la dynastie des Song], Wenwu 文物, 2005, n°5, p. 74
Zhejiang wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo et al. 浙江文物考古研究所, Silongkou Yueyao zhi 寺龍口越窯址 [le site des fours de céramiques de Yue de Silongkou], Beijing 北京 : Wenwu chubanshe 文物出版社, 2002