30. M4747



Chinese ceramic Ding ware ingot-form pillow, zhen, moulded on the exterior, the gently sloping concave top incised and glazed in white with flowers forming a cash motif on a clear-glazed tan ground, each larger side with a relief recumbent stag between branches of buds, one side within a jewelled border, the other within a cross-hatched border, the smaller sides with stylised flowers, buds and leaves, the unglazed flat biscuit base pierced with an air hole revealing the high-fired body.

8 inches, 20.3 cm long; 5 inches, 12.8 cm deep; 4 inches, 10.2 cm high.

Northern Song – Jin dynasty, Ding kilns, Hebei Province, 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 394, 66.
  • A related pillow with duck and lotus design and two floral examples are illustrated by the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, in their exhibition of Chinese Ceramic Pillows from the Yeung Wing Tak Collection, 1984, 7, 8 & 9, pp. 35 and 161/2; two bean-form pillows of this type with white slip and transparent glaze leaving a design are both referred to as Ding wares and the decorative technique is similar to Cizhou wares, although the clear glazed design with white on the top is more typical of Ding kiln production and are illustrated by Regina Krahl in Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Volume One, no. 371, pp. 210/1 and in Volume Three (II), no. 1538, pp. 538/9; another is illustrated by Lee Hong in Porcelains from the Tianjin Municipal Museum, colour plate 29; and another is illustrated by Li Huibing in Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (I), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Beijing, volume 32, no. 89, pp. 98/9.
  • A related Cizhou example was included by Yukichi Inouye, Noriyuki Maesaka and Keigo Nakamura in 100 Ceramic Pillows Formerly in the Hayashibara Museum Collection, 2012, no. 84.
  • 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 and two edge chips restored, minute nicks to corners and edges.