We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Brush washer in the shape of a plum blossom


Guan ware


  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Zhejiang Province China
    Southern Song 1127 - 1279 Song dynasty 960 - 1279 → China
    Media category
    Materials used
    stoneware with crackled glaze
    2.7 x 10.8 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of Mr J.H. Myrtle 1998
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Guan ware

    Works in the collection


  • About

    'Guan' means 'official' and imperial Guan wares were made for the newly established Southern Song court after the style of wares made previously for the northern court at Kaifeng. Produced at the Guan kilns sited in present-day Zhejiang province, Guan wares, and Guan-type wares made at Longquan kilns, are among the most sumptuous of Song wares. Typically they are thin and dark bodied, but thickly covered with many layers of lustrous greyish-green glaze with a mesh of crackle which has been enhanced by staining.

    This piece exemplifies Southern Song taste and would have been among the desk accoutrements of a late Song literati aspiring to pursue a reclusive life of self-cultivation that focused on reading, poetry, painting and calligraphy.

    The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.107.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Zhejiang Province

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication