After the demise of the Tang dynasty, the Liao dynasty ruled much of what we know today as northern and north-eastern China (Manchuria), Mongolia and parts of the Russian Far East and North Korea from 916 to 1125 and was contemporary with the first half of the Song dynasty.
As such, Liao dynasty ceramics produced in Manchuria followed the traditions of the Tang whiteware and the three-colour sancai but because the Liao were largely people from non-literate nomadic tribes, they also developed their own artistic styles of Liao ceramics.
In addition to their own imitations of Tang and Song wares, Liao pottery was produced in some unique shapes including long-necked vases, cockscomb vessels modelled on the flower, jugs with phoenix-headed mouths and flat flasks. These were Liao dynasty ceramics produced to imitate saddle bags made from animal hides used to carry milk, water or even liquor.
Chinese sancai, three-colour glazed pottery moulded dish of square form with a barbed rim, straight everted sides and flat base, moulded in relief with a central chrysanthemum flowerhead in a square medallion surrounded by four large leaves and encircled with eight flowerhead panels with leaf edges, all on a cream glazed ground, the rim glazed in chestnut extending to the reverse, the flat unglazed base revealing the pottery body with white slip.
A Chinese pottery wine ewer of cylindrical form with sloping shoulder ribbed neck and strap handle, covered in a rich and chestnut glaze stopping above the foot, revealing the body.
Further information on Liao
The manufacturing techniques of these Liao dynasty ceramics involved being slipped and covered with a low-fired glaze of rich green or brown. Some Liao pottery was covered with an exquisite white glaze which has been compared to the high quality of Ding ware.
Generally speaking, Liao dynasty ceramics and Liao pottery were not as refined as those of the Song dynasty however Liao ceramics retain both the interest, charm and inherent beauty of fine provincial wares.
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