REF No. 6862
Chinese porcelain 'monk's cap' jug and cover
Kangxi period circa 1720
Height: 51⁄4 inches; 13.5cm
A Chinese export porcelain condiment jug and cover of unusual form with elaborate rim and serpentine handle, decorated with lotus, antiques and Daoist precious objects, in the Chinese Imari palette of underglaze blue, overglaze iron red and gold.
This sweet little jug is a rare form, with the raised rim imitating a Tibetan monk’s cap. The form is known as sengmaohu as it resembles the profile of hats worn by Tibetan monks. The shape was originally made in metal but was then copied in porcelain from the Yuan period onwards, notably in the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle who restored diplomatic relations with Tibet in 1412.
Most Chinese examples of this shape are decorated with lotus and Daoist precious objects, as here though this example also has other objects added.
Notable examples of this form:
Shoudu bowuguan (Capital Museum) in Beijing, qingbai-glazed ewer excavated in 1965 from a Yuan tomb in the Haiding district, Beijing.
British Museum (No 1952,0512.1), Yongle period (1403-1424)
Jingdezhen Ceramics Archaeology Institute has several examples unearthed in Zhushan in 1983, white glazed and copper-red glazed examples from the Yongle period and a blue and white example from the Xuande period, all exhibited in 2014.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (EA1978.2073) copper-red glazed, dated to 1700-1720; but with apocryphal Xuande mark;
Metropolitan Museum No 29.100.314 an example decorated in underglaze copper red, Qianlong mark and period
References: Harrison-Hall 2001, No 3:2; Vickers, Michael, Oliver Impey, and James Allan (1986) From Silver to Ceramic: The Potter's Debt to Metalwork in the Graeco-Roman, Oriental and Islamic Worlds (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1986), pl. 60.