Yue-ware Covered Jar
Chinese, Northern Song, Yue-ware Covered Jar, late 10th-11th century, Glazed stoneware; Height: 36.2 cm (14 1/4 inches), Museum Works of Art Fund 43.149
Yue ware was produced in several regions of southern China. The tonality of the monochrome glaze of this beautifully shaped example is characteristic of pieces made in Zhejiang Province. Lotus petals define the vessel’s form, and the cover is fashioned like a lotus bud about to flower. The neck is incised with peonies, and some lotus-leaf tips assume the form of turtles’ heads. In Buddhism, the lotus symbolizes purity and rebirth. Here it may allude to the soul’s rebirth in the Western Paradise, the pure region where the Amitabha Buddha resides. Turtles symbolize long life, so the heads may also be associated with immortality. The jar may have held a funerary offering.