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Jar with Cover

A work made of earthenware with blue lead glaze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of earthenware with blue lead glaze.


Tang dynasty (618–906), first half of 8th century



About this artwork

In China, the use of finely ground cobalt blue ore as a colorant for lead glaze originated in the Tang dynasty. Perhaps intending to emulate vibrant blue glass imported from the Middle East, Chinese potters applied this glaze to off-white earthenwares and low-fired stonewares that were intended primarily for burial. The source of Tang cobalt has been subject to ongoing debate. For many years, most scholars assumed that Chinese potters imported cobalt ore from the Middle East. Recent analyses of Tang blue glazes, however, show these to be chemically distinct from those of Middle Eastern ceramics and may indicate a domestic Chinese source for this colorant.


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Arts of Asia


Jar with Cover


China (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

700 CE–750 CE


Earthenware with blue lead glaze


21.1 × 23.4 cm (8 5/16 × 9 3/16 in.); Diam.: 23.4 cm (9 3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Russell Tyson

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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