Greenwares from the Yue Kilns in Zhejiang Province

High-fired green-glazed ceramics were first made in east China more than 3,000 years ago. The earliest pieces imitated the shapes and decoration of bronze ritual vessels. Later wares were made for daily use and for burial in tombs. Many burial wares were ceramic models that showed aspects of daily life, such as cooking stoves or domestic animals. From about AD 300 onwards, the Yue kilns began producing inkstones and waterdroppers for calligraphers. In the Tang dynasty (AD 618-906) the wares were used for tea-drinking. They were much admired and praised by poets.

'In the breezes and mists of autumn the Yue kilns are opened to reveal the brilliant greens of a thousand mountains.' (Lu Guimeng, died AD 881)

Greenware stem dish with acanthus leaf, Changsha, 5th - 6th century AD, Sui Dynasty (AD 589 - 618)

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Greenware stem dish with acanthus leaf, Changsha, 5th - 6th century AD, Sui Dynasty (AD 589 - 618); stoneware, with green glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; 5.2 cm (height), 11.8 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.3914© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Changsha ware ewer with birds and flowers, Wajiaping kiln-sites, late 9th century - early 10th century AD; stoneware, with green glaze and splashes of brown; 16.4 cm (height), 13.5 cm (diameter), at foot 11.8 cm (diameter). Purchased, 1973. EA1973.8© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Greenware ewer with chicken head spout, Yue kiln-sites, late 5th century - early 6th century AD , Six Dynasties Period (AD 221 - 589), stoneware, with green glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; 16.5 cm (height), 14 cm (diameter), at base 9.5 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.277. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Black ware ewer with chicken head spout, Deqing kiln-sites, 5th century AD, Six Dynasties Period (AD 221 - 589)

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Black ware ewer with chicken head spout, Deqing kiln-sites, 5th century AD, Six Dynasties Period (AD 221 - 589), stoneware, with brown iron glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; 20.5 cm (height), 16.5 cm (diameter), at base 11 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.944. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Greenware ewer with chicken head spout, Shaoxing kiln-sites, 4th century - 1st half of the 5th century AD, Six Dynasties Period (AD 221 - 589)

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Greenware ewer with chicken head spout, Shaoxing kiln-sites, 4th century - 1st half of the 5th century AD, Six Dynasties Period (AD 221 - 589); stoneware, with green glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim;  21.6 cm (height), 17 cm (diameter), at base 10.5 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.211. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Greenware stand in the form of three lions, Yue kiln-sites, late 5th century - early 6th century AD , Six Dynasties Period (AD 221 - 589)

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Greenware stand in the form of three lions, Yue kiln-sites, late 5th century - early 6th century AD , Six Dynasties Period (AD 221 - 589); stoneware, with green glaze; unglazed base; 7.6 x 12.5 x 11.5 cm (height x width x depth). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.976© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Greenware ewer with chicken head spout, Yue kiln-sites, 4th - 5th century (AD 301 - 500), Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317 - 420)

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Greenware ewer with chicken head spout, Yue kiln-sites, 4th - 5th century, Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317 - 420); stoneware, thrown, with incised and combed decoration under a green glaze; spout and lugs hand-modelled and luted to the ewer with slip; unglazed base; glazed rim; 22.8 cm (height), 18.5 cm (diameter). Lent by the Sir Alan Barlow Collection Trust. LI1301.373© The University of Sussex 

Greenware globular jar with lotus petals, Yue kiln-sites, late 8th century - early 9th century AD , Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907)

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Greenware globular jar with lotus petals, Yue kiln-sites, late 8th century - early 9th century AD , Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907); stoneware, with green glaze; glazed base; glazed rim; 9.1 cm (height), 10.5 cm (diameter), at foot 5.7 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.1222© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford 

Greenware globular jar, Yue kiln-sites, 9th century AD (AD 801 - 900), Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907)

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Greenware globular jar, Yue kiln-sites, 9th century AD, Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907); stoneware, with green glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; 8.2 cm (height), 10.5 cm (diameter), at foot 6 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.282© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford 

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Greenware saucer dish, Yue kiln-sites, 10th century; stoneware, with green glaze; glazed base; glazed rim; 2.5 cm (height), 14.2 cm (diameter), at foot 5.6 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.318. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford 

Greenware bowl, Yue kiln-sites, 9th - 10th century AD , Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907)

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Greenware bowl, Yue kiln-sites, 9th - 10th century AD , Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907); stoneware, with green glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; 4.4 cm (height), 14.4 cm (diameter), at foot 6 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.306. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford 

Greenware jar with loop handles, China, 7th century AD, Sui Dynasty (AD 589 - 618) - Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907)

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Greenware jar with loop handles, China, 7th century AD, Sui Dynasty (AD 589 - 618) - Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 907); stoneware, with green glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; 19.6 cm (height), 16.5 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.982. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Greenware guan, or jar, with loop handles, Yue kiln-sites, 4th century AD, Western Jin Dynasty (AD 265 - 316) - Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317 - 420) - Six Dynasties Period (AD 221 - 589)

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Greenware guan, or jar, with loop handles, Yue kiln-sites, 4th century AD, Western Jin Dynasty (AD 265 - 316) - Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317 - 420) - Six Dynasties Period (AD 221 - 589); stoneware, with green glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; 7.7 cm (height), 10.8 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.264. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Greenware water pot with loop handles, Yue kiln-sites, late 3rd century - early 4th century AD , Western Jin Dynasty (AD 265 - 316) -Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317 - 420)

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Greenware water pot with loop handles, Yue kiln-sites, late 3rd century - early 4th century AD , Western Jin Dynasty (AD 265 - 316) -Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317 - 420); stoneware, with impressed decoration under a green glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; with handles 4.9 cm max. (height), without handles 4.4 cm min. (height), 11.4 cm (diameter), at foot 7.5 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.367. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Greenware guan, or jar, with loop handles, Yue kiln-sites, l6th - 7th century AD

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Greenware guan, or jar, with loop handles, Yue kiln-sites, 6th - 7th century AD; stoneware, with impressed decoration under a green glaze; unglazed base; glazed rim; 12.2 cm (height), 17.5 cm (diameter). Presented by Sir Herbert Ingram, 1956. EA1956.217. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford