Important Cultural PropertyQuadrangular-shaped jar with horizontal-line pattern (Sō type)

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  • Southern-Song Guan Ware
  • 1 piece
  • H19.7 aperture D8.2 bottom D12.7
  • Southern Song period/12-13th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • TG-2167

The production sites of ceramics and porcelain for the Chinese imperial court were called guan-yao (jp. kan-yō, lit. official kiln). The record reports that a guan-yao existed in the Northern Song period, but the details are not known. In the Southern Song period, celadon porcelain was produced at guan-yao in Lin'an, the capital of the dynasty (today's Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province). It is recorded that a guan-yao was built in Xiuneisi (jp. Shūnaiji) first and in Jiaotan (jp. Kōdanka) later. The Jiaotan guan-yao was found at the foot of Mt. Uki (jp) in the southern Zhejiang Province in Shōwa 5 (1930), the Xiuneisi guan-yao was found at Laohudong (Tiger Cave) in the northern vicinity of the Fenghuang Mountains in Heisei 8 (1996). Celadon porcelain ware from both sites share characteristics, such as the black base containing much iron, the deep and tranquil hues of the glaze and the cracks in the glaze called kannyū, which run in every direction.
This bottle takes the shape of cong (jp. sō), a kind of jade ware and has a dignified and voluminous atmosphere. It was formerly called 'the sutra-cylinder water-jug,' and owned by the Owari Tokugawa family. Based on the characteristics of the base material and the glaze, this piece is thought to be a rare example of official guan-yao celadon porcelain of the Song Dynasty that survived in Japan.