Under the Jin dynasty, founded by the Jurchens, the decorative repertoire of ceramics gave prominence to plant and animal motifs rendered with a certain realism. The painted decorations of the Cizhou sandstones illustrate this trend well, in particular those produced during the prosperous decades at the turn of the XNUMXth century. This octagonal pillow, made by molding and assembly with a slip, hides a gray-beige shard under an off-white engobe. This one, although very close to the body of the white porcelains of northern China, nevertheless has a higher rate of coloring agents, in particular iron oxide.
The meticulous decor was traced with a brush using a brown engobe charged with magnetic iron oxide. This ornamental technique, first experimented in the Guantai and Hebiji pharmacies from the beginning of the XNUMXth century. soon became dominant.
After application of the decoration, the objects were coated with a transparent coating whose viscosity, combined with the stability of the magnetic iron oxide contributed to the great legibility of the decoration. This is composed, on the sides of the pillow, of a stylized vegetable foliage which is part of the common repertoire of many ovens of the Cizhou group, and, on the dish, of a magpie perched on a bare branch. This theme, which comes from the “flowers and birds” pictorial genre, is one of the favorite animal subjects of the painted stoneware of Cizhou. The magpie, xique, is considered an auspicious bird because of the first character of its name which means "joy". Here, its rendering between naturalness and simplicity, is a modest echo of the works of the great Song masters such as Cui Bai 崔白 (1004-1088) or Ma Lin 馬麟 (late XNUMXth-early XNUMXth century).
Stoneware painted with black engobe on a white engobe background, transparent covered
Hebei, late 1115th-early 1234th c., Jin Dynasty (XNUMX-XNUMX)
H.11 cm x W.30 cm x D.20,1 cm
MC 9241. Don, SAMC, 1964, on the base is the impression of a seal "Made by the Zhang family"
Photo credit :
© Paris Museums / Cernuschi Museum