25. M4750



Chinese ceramic moulded sancai, three-colour glazed pillow, zhen, of rectangular form with concave headrest and flat sides, the top striped in green, amber and cream glaze with an incised double border, the wide ends with high relief camellia flowers on a continuous scrolling branch with leaves, the sides with flowerheads within a lozenge-shaped panel, all covered in a rich amber glaze, the smaller sides with spur marks, one with a small air hole from the firing, the base flat.

8 inches, 20.3 cm long; 3 ¾ inches, 9.6 cm high; 3 7/8 inches, 9.8 cm deep.

Northern Song 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.
  • Included by Marchant in their exhibition of Chinese Ceramics Tang to Song, 2022, no. 25, pp. 68-69.
  • A pillow of this form covered in a green glaze and moulded on the sides with flowers is illustrated by Li Huibing in Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (II), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Beijing, volume 33, 255, p. 279; a related pillow with a striped top and moulded on the sides with figures and flowers was included by Yukichi Inouye, Noriyuki Maesaka and Keigo Nakamura in 100 Ceramic Pillows Formerly in the Hayashibara Museum Collection, 2012, no. 55; and another moulded on the sides with birds and flowers is illustrated by the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, in their exhibition of Chinese Ceramic Pillows from the Yeung Wing Tak Collection, 1984, no. 94, p. 53 & 204; another related pillow of this form was included by the Idemitsu Museum of Art in their exhibition of Cizhou Ware of China, Its Charm and Taste, 2005, no. 59.
  • 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.


Three upper corner chips and a firing flaw near one corner restored, one base corner chip and one sliver chip to the edge of the base restored, four minute nicks to the upper edges and one flake near the top left spur mark retouched.