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funerary urn

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    PDF.204

  • Description

    Pair of Longquan porcelain funerary urns. The vases have pale greyish green glaze. Vase A has a tiger and a small dog modelled on the upper section, a bird on the lid, and overlapping lotus petals on the lower half. Vase B has a dragon and a flaming pearl modelled on the upper section, a bird on the lid, and overlapping lotus petals on the lower half.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 12thC-13thC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 252 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Southern Song 12th-13thCRoom 95 label text:

    PDF 204

    Pair of funerary urns with applied animals


    These funerary urns are decorated with two ‘animals of the four directions’, called 'siling 四靈' in Chinese. The White Tiger of the West is pursuing a dog and the Green Dragon of the East is chasing a flaming pearl. The birds on the covers may allude to the Red Bird of the South; but the symbol of the north, a tortoise with a snake, is not present. In China, artists decorated coffins and tombs with these creatures from the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) onwards. These jars stored provisions for the afterlife such as grain and are part of local southern burial practice.


    Stoneware, porcelain-type, with carved and applied decoration and celadon glaze
    Longquan ware 龍泉窯
    Longquan region, Zhejiang province 浙江省, 龍泉地區
    Southern Song dynasty, AD1127–1279

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  • Bibliography

    • Medley 1975 Monochrome pl. 39 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2001 p. 65, no. 60 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 1997 p.20, no.204 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2002 p.48, no.27 bibliographic details
    • Scott 1989B p.57, no.44 bibliographic details
    • Medley 1977 pp 17-18, no.36 bibliographic details
    • Krahl & Harrison-Hall 2009 pp 44-45, no.18 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G95/case52-4

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    Stacey Pierson 1997 records: From the collection of Shoji Kato, Kyoto.

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    PDF.204


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Object reference number: RRC38622

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