BW-06021     Jar with underglaze-blue illustration of Emperor

Tang Tai-zong

Yuan dynasty, Gao-an Kiln, unmarked.
Height:29.8cm, Mouth diameter:19.3cm, Foot diamerer:18.6cm, Interior foot height:0.6cm   Weight:6260g
This ware has been cleansed with Oxalic Acid to remove dirt and viscidities to restore its original luster for collection and preservation.


This jar features an erect neck, round belly, and flared foot. Its present form comes from combining two separately shaped parts together. A joint mark is found on the interior ware belly. This jar is a classic example of vessels produced in Yuan dynasty. 

With billows encircling the neck, Chinese historical figures from Tang dynasty on the belly are complemented by various stones, clouds, peony and plantain foliage. 

Transparent white glaze with a tinge of green conveys a glittering sensation.

The illustration on the jar depicts an epic battle when Yu-chi Gong, a fearless and loyal subordinate of Li Shi-min, rides to rescue his master.  

Four people are portrayed in this illustration:

Li Shi-min, more commonly known as Tang Tai-zong, was one of the greatest emperors to rule China. Before Li and his father became the first and second emperor of Tang dynasty, they were at war with Wang Shi-chong, a powerful warlord and potential candidate for the crown. Li was ambushed by Wang’s troops when he led five hundred cavalries out on a scout mission. Shan Xiong-xin, serving Wang, rode hastily towards Li in attempt to end his life. With a stunning roar, Yu-chi Gong stuck Shan Xiong-xin and saved Li.  

Wardrobe and accessories:

1.      Li Shi-min, the first rider, wears a regnal hat, robe and leather boots.

2.      The rider behind Li is Yu-chi Gong dressed in full battle gear holding an iron whip.

3.      The retinue foot solider in uniform holds Li’s flag in his hands.

4.      Shan Xiong-xin, the engaging rider wearing battle helmet and body armor is trying to assassinate Li Shi-min with a pike.  

These garments are costumes worn by actors in Yuan dynasty which bare little or no resemblance to dressing in Tang dynasty. Illustrations drawn with standard style in Yuan dynasty.

The imported pigment containing cobalt element displays a gorgeous indigo-blue with silvery iron rust.


Sleek and green tint surface appears sparkling and smooth.

Binary formula was used in Yuan dynasty to mix Ma-chang clay with common clay. The resulting compound as shown at the bottom of the ware is rough with impurities. Trimming marks are easily recognized at the center.

Higher iron, lower manganese combination is a unique attribute of the imported pigment. This characteristic has led to the formation of blackish and yellowish brown iron rust and occasional greenish brown spots after combustion.  

Glittering air bubbles of various sizes spread out closely to each other under the glaze.

Grayish white clay is dry and loose with visible air holes and black impurities.