24. M4752



Chinese ceramic green and amber glazed ingot-form pillow, zhen, moulded on the four sides with a quatrefoil reserve depicting four fish on an aquatic leaf ground, all reserved on an interlaced floral diaper ground within incised borders, the plain flat ends incised with a stylised flowerhead and a green glazed cross on an amber ground, one end pierced for the firing, the other with three original spur marks.

7 inches, 17.7 cm long; 4 inches, 10.2 cm high.

Northern Song dynasty, 11th 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 401, 71.
  • A similar pillow of this form with fish roundels and three other related pillows are included by the Idemitsu Museum of Art in their exhibition of Cizhou Ware of China, Its Charm and Taste, 2005, 60-63, p. 38; an amber glazed moulded pillow of this form with floral decoration, in the British Museum, is illustrated by Douglas Barrett, Lawrence Smith, Jessica Rawson and Roderick Whitfield in The World’s Great Collections, Oriental Ceramics, Vol. 5, no. 107; another amber and green splashed ingot-form example moulded with flowers is illustrated by Lee Hong in Porcelains from the Tianjin Municipal Museum, colour plate 42; another amber glazed example with geometric patterns is illustrated by Li Huibing in Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (II), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Beijing, volume 33, no. 256, p. 280; and another was included by Yukichi Inouye, Noriyuki Maesaka and Keigo Nakamura in 100 Ceramic Pillows Formerly in the Hayashibara Museum Collection, 2012, no. 43.
  • 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.


Two corner chips restored, tiny corner tip nicks and various small edge chips/nicks retouched.