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Gallery Text

Chinese ceramic wares made in Song dynasty (960–1279) court taste are esteemed for their refined forms, subtle decoration, and soft, muted glaze colors. Buoyed by national peace, economic prosperity, and the rise of a highly educated civil official class, local ceramics industries throughout China began to thrive and innovate at unprecedented levels.

Kilns seeking to supply household wares to their highly cultured clientele often created pieces that were reminiscent of other precious items. For example, northern Ding wares, with their decorative designs and thin bodies, were often compared to silverwork, while the thick green glazes coating southern Longquan wares brought carved jades to mind. Although natural forms were popular, like those inspired by flower blossoms, government officials, who had attained their positions through long study of ancient texts and history, were especially drawn to ceramics that resembled the bronzes and jades of antiquity. Courtly taste in China would change drastically after the Song, shifting toward brightly decorated blue-and-white porcelains, invented at Jingdezhen in the fourteenth century and manufactured at the same kilns that produced the delicate blue-tinged white wares known as qingbai.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Foliate Cup with Flaring and Notched Lip
Work Type
12th-13th century
Creation Place: East Asia, China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen
Song dynasty, Southern Song period, 1127-1279
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Qingbai ware: porcelain with pale sky-blue glaze
H. 4.2 x Diam. 10.3 cm (1 5/8 x 4 1/16 in.)
C. T. Loo, Paris (by 1950), gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1950.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of C.T. Loo in memory of Anne Scott Thomson
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Exhibition History

Masterworks of East Asian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 11/03/1995 - 06/09/1996

Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum, and Bamboo: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 07/06/2002 - 01/05/2003

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/13/2020

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at