Length: 15.000 cm
Width: 11.500 cm
Height: 8.000 cm
Bequeathed by Mrs Walter Sedgwick
Asia OA 1968.4-22.20
Room 33: Asia
Yue ware water dropper
From Zhejiang province, southern
Six Dynasties, 3rd-4th century AD
In the shape of a frog drinking from a cup
Yue wares are named after the region in which they are made, part of Zhejiang province which was known in pre-imperial times as the Kingdom of Yue. Yue wares are high-fired stoneware with fine green glazes, and have a very high status, used at the imperial court, and sent to the court as tribute.
Yue wares were made as early as the third century as a local product copying contemporary bronze forms. Particular forms developed, such as ewers with chicken-headed spouts, which are among the best-known greenwares of the Six Dynasties period (AD 265-589).
The ear-shaped cup from which the frog drinks is a form of lacquer object in the Han period. Frog-shaped water droppers were first made in the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25-220). They were made for the scholar's desk and used in calligraphy (the art of 'beautiful writing'). This small example is exceptionally appealing, with carefully crafted, almost human features.
S.J. Vainker, Chinese pottery and porcelain, (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)
J. Rawson (ed.), The British Museum book of Chi (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)