This so-called “pilgrim bottle” is based on the form of a sheepskin water pouch that was carried by travelers in northern China and Mongolia. Similar flat-sided water bottles, often suspended by a cord, were also popular in ancient Roman times. The design of this bottle represents the integration of earlier motifs and techniques—like the peony and the green lead glaze—from the Tang dynasty with the shape of leather water pouches from Liao nomadic culture. Peonies, here delicately incised on the front of the bottle, are closely associated with royalty because the flower had been grown in the imperial gardens of the Sui and Tang dynasties. The peony is often called the “flower of wealth and honor,” used to symbolize those two attributes and high rank.
Earthenware, green glaze
This item is not on view
Gift of Horace O. Havemeyer, by exchange
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Pilgrim Bottle, 907-1125. Earthenware, green glaze, 10 9/16 in. (26.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Horace O. Havemeyer, by exchange, 50.162. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 50.162_bw.jpg)
overall, 50.162_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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