12. M5143



Chinese amber glazed marbled pottery small circular cosmetic box, he, with flattened edge and gently domed cover with matching flat base, the interior similarly glazed with spur marks from the firing.

2 1/8 inches, 5.5 cm diameter; 1 inch, 2.5 cm high.

Tang dynasty, Gongxian kilns, Henan Province, 7th – 8th century.


Provenance & Additional Information

  • Formerly in an American private collection.
  • Sold by Chase Gilmore Galleries, Chicago, September 1976.
  • Published by Marchant in their exhibition of Chinese Ceramics Tang to Song, 2022, no. 12, pp. 36-37.
  • A similar box, sold by J. J. Lally & Co., New York, is included by Regina Krahl in Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Volume Three (I), no. 1243, p. 232, where the author notes, “The small box follows the shape of a silver box with nearly identical parts: the top and bottom are very slightly domed and set off from the straight sides by a groove. Red and white clays have been kneaded together and are fully covered inside and out with an amber-coloured glaze. Three small spurs supported the piece during firing.”
  • Another related marbled cosmetic box from the Dexinshuwu Collection was included by Christie’s Hong Kong in their auction of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 2nd October 2017, lot 34, p. 35.
  • A similarly glazed marbled pillow was included by Marchant in their exhibition of Chinese Ceramics Han to Song, 2018, no. 7, pp. 28/9.
  • Wu Tung, describing a pillow in Earth Transformed, Chinese Ceramics in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, mentions the following, “The term ‘marbleized’ was adopted by art historians in the West to describe the effect of what Chinese potters called jiao tai (‘mixed clay’) or jiao you (‘mixed glaze’). For mixed clay, the technique used in this brick-shaped object, they would twist together two colors, usually white and brown, or roll them together so that they formed decorative patterns when the roll was sliced in cross-section. The ‘slices’, laid out edge to edge in molds and fired, melded into a single surface with repeated For the mixed-glaze effect potters mingled contrasting glazes as they applied them. Two other effects achieved by mixing clay are traditionally described as ‘wood grain’ or ‘feather pattern’.”


Overall excellent condition, the interior of the box and cover each with three spur marks, wear and natural firing imperfections.