The Yuan dynasty followed the Song dynasty and preceded the Ming dynasty, marking the first time in China’s history where the country was subjugated by a foreign power: the Mongol Empire. Historically founded by Kublai Khan, the new ruler listed his grandfather, Genghis Khan, as the official founder of the Yuan dynasty on the imperial records. The Mongol Khans ruled from the capital Dadu (modern-day Beijing) and gradually assimilated Chinese political and cultural models. During this period there were some notable changes in Chinese ceramic production as, for example, the development in Jingdezhen ware of underglaze and painted blue-and-white pottery. A trend towards larger and more elaborate ceramics can also be attested – a move away from the refined simplicity seen in the Song dynasty.
Yuan Terracotta Buddhist Reliquary Jar
A finely moulded Yuan Buddhist reliquary jar, featuring a piriform body that rises from a short ring base. Its lid is aesthetically stylised into the shape of a blooming lotus flower, with further incisions outlining the segmented petals radiating from the top of the lid. Crude geometric decorations, composed of spherical shapes and incised lines, are applied on the lid’s filed, separating the lotus petals in relief from the lid’s edge. A delicate, conical knob is placed on the top of the convex lid. The main body is adorned with broad upright Bajiao leaves, an iconic Buddhist floral symbol. Anthropomorphic figures are sculpted in low relief, outlined by Bajiao leaves border.
Period: Yuan Dynasty
Provenance: From the collection of the late Brian Page (193802018), a well-known Oriental art collector and dealer.
Condition: Good condition, signs of wear consistent with age; earthy encrustations remain on the surface.