29. M4751



Chinese ceramic green glazed monochrome pillow, zhen, of ruyi-head form, incised on the gently concave top with outlines following the form, with further incised lines beneath the sloping shoulder, the fluted body covered overall in a rich and even deep apple green glaze, the flat predominantly unglazed base revealing the buff-coloured body, with an air hole from the firing beneath the ruyi-head point.

11 inches, 28 cm long; 7 inches, 17.8 cm deep; 4 ½ inches, 11.5 cm high. Northern Song – Jin dynasty, 11th – 12th century.

Japanese wood box.


Provenance & Additional Information

  • From a Japanese private collection.
  • Sold by Sotheby’s Hong Kong in their auction of Chinese Art, 29th–30th November 2018, lot 399, 70.
  • Few monochrome green glazed ruyi-head form pillows appear to be published; a bean-form example is illustrated by the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, in their exhibition of Chinese Ceramic Pillows from the Yeung Wing Tak Collection, 1984, no. 92, p. 203, where it also illustrates three Cizhou-type incised green glazed pillows, nos. 88-90, pp. 50 & 201/2; another is illustrated in The Illustrated Catalogue of the Tokyo National Museum, Chinese Ceramics, no. 299, p. 73 and is dated corresponding to 1156; another is illustrated by John Ayers in Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, Volume I, no. 24 (A80), p.68; two others were included by Yukichi Inouye, Noriyuki Maesaka and Keigo Nakamura in 100 Ceramic Pillows Formerly in the Hayashibara Museum Collection, 2012, nos. 47 & 48, together with another ruyi-form pillow incised with a parrot in a ruyi– border with amber glazed sides, no. 46; a further bean-form example with green incised floral top and amber sides, unearthed from No. 1 Tomb at Meixi site, Huixian, the property of the Cultural Relics Archaeological Institute of the Henan Province, is illustrated by Sun Xinmin in Three-Color Ware of the Tang Dynasty, The Henan Province Discoveries, no. 96, p. 126.
  • Japanese boxes can sometimes be identified by the cord they are tied It has been suggested in Japan that this pillow may have been handled by Mr. Naito.


A horizontal luting line with several associated vertical firing/stress lines cleaned and consolidated, three other glaze cracks, one extending to the base, all consolidated, glaze flakes and bubble bursts to the surface, tiny nick to foot, three natural spur marks to one side.