Brown-Glazed Vase

Western Han Dynasty
Three Gorges Museum, Chongqing

Chinese experts would not hesitate to classify this high-fired, brown-glazed, stoneware vase as a porcelain, and perhaps even a celedon, although these terms are applied more restrictively in the West. From the Han dynasty onwards, continued technical advances in firing and glazing eventually led to the production of true porcelaneous celadon, with its distinctive greenish-gray glazes, in the Song dynasty. A design of stylized birds, with joined bodies and double heads, occupies two bands on the shoulder of this vessel. Its small loop handles are fashioned as crouching beasts, whose triangular ears poke up above the surface.