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Asian art

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Tea bowl with slip design of plum blossom

circa 12th century


Jizhou ware



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.


Other Title

Tea bowl with slip design of prunus blossom

Place where the work was made

Jiangxi Province China


circa 12th century

Media category


Materials used

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

Accession number


Artist information

Jizhou ware

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Jiangxi Province

Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

  • 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.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Early Ceramics', Sydney, 2003, 106 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies and Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Early Chinese Art', pg. 18-29, Sydney, 1990, 28 (colour illus.).