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Sir (James) Alan Noel Barlow (1881–1968), by Walter Stoneman, 1941.© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Alan Barlow (1881-1968) was a distinguished civil servant and a leading 20th-century collector of Chinese and other eastern ceramics. His particular focus was the fine stonewares and porcelains of the Tang (AD 618-906) and Song (AD 960-1279) dynasties. Deeply committed to public education, he left the collection as a trust to be used in universities and museums by the widest possible audience. In addition to the examples in this case, pieces are exhibited throughout the Chinese displays and in the Islamic Middle East gallery. 

White ware vase with lobed rim and floral decoration, 12th - 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279)

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 White ware vase with lobed rim and floral decoration, Jingdezhen kilns, 12th - 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), porcelain, thrown, with incised decoration under a bluish-white glaze (qingbai ware); unglazed base; glazed rim, 17.2 cm (height), 14.6 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.53 © The University of Sussex

White ware dish with floral decoration, 12th century, Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1279)

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White ware dish with floral decoration, Jingdezhen kilns, 12th century, Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1279), porcelain, thrown, with incised decoration under a bluish-white glaze (qingbai ware); partly glazed base; glazed rim, 5 cm (height), 17.9 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.54 © The University of Sussex

Greenware bowl in the style of Guan ware, 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279)

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 Greenware bowl in the style of Guan ware, Longquan kilns, 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware, thrown, with green crackled glaze; copper rim; glazed base, 5.5 cm (height), 15.3 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.49 © The University of Sussex

White ware bowl with ducks swimming between lotus plants, Ding kilns, 11th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127)

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White ware bowl with ducks swimming between lotus plants, Ding kilns, 11th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127), stoneware, thrown, with incised and combed decoration under a white glaze; glazed base; copper rim, 4.3 cm (height), 21.2 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.234 © The University of Sussex

White ware dish with floral decoration, Ding kilns, 2nd half of the 11th century - 1st half of the 12th century

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White ware dish with floral decoration, Ding kilns, 2nd half of the 11th century - 1st half of the 12th centurystoneware, thrown, with incised decoration under a white glaze; glazed base; glazed rim4.5 cm (height), 16.4 cm (diameter)Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.434 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Ru ware brush washer, Henan province (Ru kilns), late 11th century - early 12th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127)

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Ru ware brush washer, Henan province (Ru kilns), late 11th century - early 12th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127), stoneware, thrown, with bluish-green glaze; gold lacquer repair; glazed base; glazed rim; 3.4 cm (height), 12.8 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.229 © The University of Sussex

Cizhou ware vase with floral decoration, Cizhou kiln-sites, 12th - 13th century, Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234)

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Cizhou ware vase with floral decoration, Cizhou kiln-sites, 12th - 13th century, Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234), stoneware, thrown, covered in white slip, and with brown slip-painted decoration under a transparent glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; 24.7 cm (height), 12.5 cm diameter), at foot 7.2 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.189 © The University of Sussex

Black ware tea bowl with 'partidge feather' glazes, North China, 11th - 12th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127) - Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234)

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Black ware tea bowl with 'partidge feather' glazes, North China, 11th - 12th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127) - Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234), stoneware, thrown, with black and brown iron glazes; unglazed base; glazed rim; 4.7 cm (height), 15.2 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.286 © The University of Sussex

Black ware tea bowl with plum blossom decoration, Jizhou kiln-sites, 12th - 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279)

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Black ware tea bowl with plum blossom decoration, Jizhou kiln-sites, 12th - 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware, thrown, with papercut decoration in reserve against yellow and black iron glazes; unglazed base; glazed rim; 6.3 cm (height), 12.2 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.124 © The University of Sussex

Black ware tea bowl with 'partridge feather' glazes, Hebei province, 12th - 13th century, Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1279) - Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234)

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Black ware tea bowl with 'partridge feather' glazes, Hebei province, 12th - 13th century, Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1279) - Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234), stoneware, thrown, with black and brown iron glazes; unglazed base, with ink inscription; glazed rim; 4.9 cm (height), 12.4 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.331 © The University of Sussex

White ware bowl, Jingdezhen kilns, 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279)

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White ware bowl, Jingdezhen kilns, 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), porcelain, thrown, with bluish-white glaze (qingbai ware); glazed base, unglazed rim; 7.3 cm (height), 14.3 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.57 © The University of Sussex

Greenware meiping, or plum blossom vase, Longquan kilns or Jingdezhen kilns, 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279)

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Greenware meiping, or plum blossom vase, Longquan kilns or Jingdezhen kilns, 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware, thrown, with ribbed decoration under a bluish-green glaze; glazed base; glazed rim; 19.4 cm (height), 12.1 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.85 © The University of Sussex

Guan ware brush washer, Hangzhou (Guan kiln), 12th century (1101 - 1200), Southern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127)

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Guan ware brush washer, Hangzhou (Guan kiln), 12th century (1101 - 1200), Southern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127), stoneware, thrown, with blue crackled glaze; glazed base; glazed rim; 3.4 cm (height), 11.8 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.48 © The University of Sussex

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Bowl with blue glaze and purple splashes, Jun kilns, 11th - 12th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127)

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Bowl with blue glaze and purple splashes, Jun kilns, 11th - 12th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127), stoneware, thrown, with opaque blue glaze, and purple copper splash glaze decoration; unglazed base; glazed rim; 4.4 cm (height), 8.5 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.172 © The University of Sussex

Bowl with blue glaze and purple splashes, Jun kilns, 12th century, Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234)

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Bowl with blue glaze and purple splashes, Jun kilns, 12th century, Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234), stoneware, thrown, with opaque blue glaze; glazed base; glazed rim8.7 cm (height), 13.9 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.88 © The University of Sussex

Greenware dish with peony decoration, Yaozhou kilns, 11th - 12th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127)

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Greenware dish with peony decoration, Yaozhou kilns, 11th - 12th century, Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1127), stoneware, probably moulded, with incised and combed decoration under a green glaze; glazed base; glazed rim; 5 cm (height), 19.6 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.108 © The University of Sussex

Cizhou ware bowl with peony decoration, Cizhou kiln-sites, 13th century, Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234)

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Cizhou ware bowl with peony decoration, Cizhou kiln-sites, 13th century, Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234), stoneware, thrown, covered in white slip under a transparent glaze, with overglaze enamel decoration; unglazed base; glazed rim; 5.4 cm (height), 15.6 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.167 © The University of Sussex

Black ware vase with plum blossom decoration, Jizhou kiln, 12th - 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279)

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Black ware vase with plum blossom decoration, Jizhou kiln, 12th - 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware, thrown, with reserve decoration against a black iron glaze, painted decoration, and sgraffito cut through the glaze; glazed base; glazed rim; 18.6 cm (height), 12.2 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.207.1 © The University of Sussex

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 Black ware vase with plum blossom decoration, Jizhou kiln, 12th - 13th century, Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), stoneware, thrown, with reserve decoration against a black iron glaze, painted decoration, and sgraffito cut through the glaze; glazed base; glazed rim; 20 cm (height), 12.6 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. Ashmolean Museum, LI1301.207.2 © The University of Sussex