light blue glaze; slightly flattened melon form; interior has 3 small compartments divided by flowering branches

Melon Form Cosmetic Box, 12th-13th century

Shaped in the form of a flattened melon, this lidded box is set on the interior with a large central flower bud from which issue three branches each with furled leaves and buds interspersed with three small rounded containers presumably for cosmetics. Boxes such as this, as well as seal-ink and multifunctional lidded boxes, were produced in great quantity at Yingqing kilns during Southern Song and Yuan periods. The most refined of these utilitarian wares would have appealed to the educated elite and aristocratic women of China, but a great quantity were made for burial as well as exported to Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

The dense white body and glossy glaze seen here are characteristics of Ching-te-chen ware and it is most likely that this box comes from that center in Kiangsi province. The sunken base is molded with a reverse maker's mark reading: duan jia he qi, "Box made by the duan family." More than a dozen different makers are recorded on ceramic boxes suggesting that numerous small family kilns, specializing in certain types of ware operated at Jingde Zhen.

Details
Title
Melon Form Cosmetic Box
Artist Life
Chinese
Role
Maker
Accession Number
2002.10.2a,b
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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light blue glaze; slightly flattened melon form; interior has 3 small compartments divided by flowering branches