Skip Navigation

Ewer with Phoenix Head

Asian Art

The Museum's Phoenix-Headed Ewer is a superb example of qingbai, or "blue-white" high-fire ceramic. The head is wonderfully carved and modeled, and truly ferocious in appearance. The earliest ceramic phoenix-headed ewers, or vaselike pitchers, date from the Tang Dynasty (A.D.618-907) and were inspired by gold and silver ewers with phoenix heads imported from Sassanian Persia. Maritime trade between China and Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and the islands of modern Indonesia greatly expanded during the early Song Dynasty in the late tenth century, and many examples of qingbai wares such as this Ewer were exported there.

MEDIUM Qingbai ware, stoneware, translucent glaze
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES ca. 10th century
    DYNASTY Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS height: 14 9/16 in. (37 cm); diameter: 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 54.7
    CREDIT LINE Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund and Frank L. Babbott Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.

    Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply).

    For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

    For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

    If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
    CAPTION Ewer with Phoenix Head, ca. 10th century. Qingbai ware, stoneware, translucent glaze, height: 14 9/16 in. (37 cm); diameter: 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund and Frank L. Babbott Fund, 54.7. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE detail, 54.7_detail_03_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2019
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Large ewer with phoenix head. Stoneware, when high fired turns a light grey-buff color. Translucent glaze with tints of pale blue-green and sometimes pale buff. Wheel made pot with molded phoenix head, handle and spout applied. Details in phoenix head incised. Three incised circles on body, two raised rings on neck. Condition: generally good, although there are firing flaws in the glaze. The following pieces are missing: top center of phoenix crest, tips of ears and one half of spout. This may well be a tenth century or early Sung example of 'ch'ing pai' ware. It was sold to the museum as coming (by a previous owner) from Indonesia. This ewer appears to be an export version of the famous phoenix-headed ewer from the Eumorfopoulos Collection in the British Museum.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (91%)
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.