The flowering plum blossom first appeared in the art of the Song dynasty in the twelfth century and has maintained its popularity as a motif in poetry, painting and the decorative arts to the present day. The emblem of winter, it appears with the peony, lotus and chrysanthemum to symbolise the four seasons. The plum blossom and moon form a striking design on this Jizhou ware teabowl produced in Jiangxi province in response to the local Song dynasty tea cult and its aesthetic preference for drinking pale green tea out of dark glazed bowls. The patronage of local scholar officials inspired Jizhou potters to decorate their ceramics using a variety of techniques. The simple, spontaneous brushwork of this piece is distinct from that of other locales around China. It is a brilliant interpretation of the early association of plum and moon.
'Asian Art', AGNSW Collections, 1994, pg. 194.
Tea bowl with slip design of prunus blossom
Song dynasty 960 - 1279 → China
circa 12th century
stoneware with a dark brown glaze and slip painted decoration
5.0 x 11.1 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Graham E. Fraser 1988
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019
Referenced in 3 publications
Jackie Menzies, AGNSW Collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 194 (colour illus.).
Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Early Chinese Art', pg. 18-29, Sydney, 1990, 28 (colour illus.).
The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Early Ceramics', Sydney, 2003, 106 (colour illus.).