Present occasion and history

Traces of time

A Song ewer records the marks of its making, a past moment made into a continuous present. It is a conventional and formal shape, the body made on wheel. Then it was taken in hand and the gourd-like division of ribs was pressed into it. We can still sense the gesture of holding and compressing and this gives it incredible freshness. A spout and handle were added with confidence and ease, the former clear and firm, the latter sinuous and seemingly as flexible as leather.

The form is complemented by a gentle and clear blue-white glaze, which has the effect of reducing the impression of weight and mass.

Holding it, one's hands recover the past touch of its maker. This effect is uncanny, taking us across time and into another, lost body, the grace and emotional control of which is frozen here.

 Ewer, Song Period (960-1279)
Private collection

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