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Jin Dynasty 12th century Chinese Cizhou Ware Crouching Tiger Pottery Pillow


TIGER PILLOW , JIN DYNASTY, 12TH CENTURY (c. 1150) The pillow is assembled with a hollow construction, its molded form covered with a white slip. An orange brown slip is applied to the body, excluding the back, ears and eyes which remain white; brown-black brushstrokes create the tiger’s stripes and features and the bamboo branches.The pillow is then coated with a transparent glaze and fired at a high temperature. The foot is unglazed. The nostrils are formed by the vent holes. 13 in. Long. This is an example of Northern Cizhou ware, made from gray stoneware and white slip applied to refine the surface. Used in summertime, this pillow for sleeping takes the form of a tiger because, according to Chinese lore, the tiger frightens away malevolent spirits. A similar Cizhou-type tiger-form pillow, decorated on top with a panel of a swan swimming, is illustrated by Jiena Huo in Fire and Earth: Early Chinese Ceramics (3500 B.C. - 1400 A.D.) in the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, 2008, p. 187, no. 147, where it is dated Jin dynasty, 12th century, and suggests that it is probably from Changzhi, in Shanxi, where other pillows of this type have been found. Another similar pillow, decorated on top with a bird perched in bamboo, in the Avery Brundage Collection, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, is illustrated by M. Tregear, Song Ceramics, New York, 1982, p. 82, no. 79, where it is dated late Northern Song-Jin dynasty, late 12th century. A very similar Cizhou-type tiger pillow realized over 68,700 USD at Christie’s (March 2014). The Brooklyn Museum is just one of the many esteemed collections of Asian art to hold similar examples. To say this tiger’s new owner will be in good company would be a major understatement! ( Brooklyn Museum 1993.56)


  • Condition
  • Condition Details
    Good antique condition. Color remains vibrant. Has been repaired in areas, see pics. Age appropriate patina. Presents extremely well.
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use. Minor losses. Minor structural damages.
  • Dimensions
    H 7 in. x W 13 in. x D 4 in.H 17.78 cm x W 33.02 cm x D 10.16 cm
  • Seller Location
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Reference Number
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About the Seller

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Located in Brooklyn, NY
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