Large Ruyao Brush Washer, China, Northern Song Dynasty, Late 11th Century

Size: Rim diameter: 16.1cm; Height: 3.9cm; Base diameter: 13cm

This is a fine Ruyao washer with a thin body and fine crackled grayish blue glaze. This fabulous brush washer has an elegant shape with its wall tapers upward from the flat base to a beautiful arching contour which ends with an inward rim. The potter's precision in finishing this superb vessel from thin clay body is amazing. The washer is fully cover with light grayish blue glaze with fine ice crackles. At the edge of the mouth rim where glaze is thinner, the glaze turns into pinkish mauve color typically exhibited by extant Ruyao pieces. The ash-grey clay body is revealed by five small sesame seed-shaped spur marks at the flat base. There are a few glaze degradation patches where the glaze turns into a network of white spots. One large Ruyao brush washer with similar shape and size in the National Palace Museum collection also demonstrates the same glaze degradation where the flat base has completely turned white. This fine Ruyao piece is magnificent for its large size, elegant form, very fine and thin wall, and fine glaze. With its credible imperial provenance, time of acquisition and impeccable quality, we can confidently attribute it as one of the few surviving imperial Ruyao pieces.






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