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. . . is for white

White Porcelanous Cup with Dragon Handle

Height: 3.5 cm. (1 3/8 in.)
Width: 8.5 cm. (3 3/8 in.)

Northern Song Period
10th-11th century

Former Alfred Clark Collection

The small cup is thinly and evenly potted and undecorated aside from the delicate mold-pressed handle in the form of a long-snouted dragon biting down on the rim of the cup with the head arched back like that of a seahorse and undulating into an S shape. The cup is coated on the interior, over the entire handle and partially on the exterior, stopping in an irregular line over half way toward the foot, with a transparent glaze that is warm in hue, luminescent and smooth. The unglazed portions, including the foot and base, reveal the fine, white stoneware body while five small spur-marks like tiny dots are present on the interior of the cup.

The Chinese began producing white stonewares during the 6th century and by the Tang period many kilns were making the popular ware, especially across the north, with Xingyao and Dingyao of Hebei province earning lasting fame for their illustrious product, while admirable production also spread into Henan province where good white clays were also available. The present cup was produced at one of these northern kilns no latter than the early Northern Song period. The present vessel was previously owned by Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Clark, who were among the most important English collectors of Chinese ceramics in the early 20th century.

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