Yue ware water dropper

From Zhejiang province, southern China
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.

Find in the collection online

More information


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)


Length: 15.000 cm
Width: 11.500 cm
Height: 8.000 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1968.4-22.20


Bequeathed by Mrs Walter Sedgwick


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore