Period: Song dynasty (960-1279 CE)
Measurements: H. 11 cm, W. 16.5 cm, L.24 cm
Provenance: Upon a governmental edict
The Cizhou Ware Pillow features an ellipse top with the foliage edge, the lower forepart and higher back part, and straight sidewalls. The reserved rectangular part was incised with the poem Water Dragon Chant in ten rows, each 10-12 characters, 102 characters in total, which is attributed to the famed scholar of Northern Song, Su Shi. The top and two sides of the rectangular panel were embellished with floral patterns, which are reserved against a bead ground. The pillow is fully covered by white slip, except for the bottom which reveals the buff ware.
Cizhou kiln was named after the place Cizhou where its central kilns were located in ancient times, it was the largest civilian kilns in northern China. The ceramic pillow, as one of the major types of utensils by the professional workshops during Song and Yuan period, was a cooling aid during the summer, additionally, ceramic pillows were also used as burial wares.
The Cizhou ware pillows are rich in shapes and diversified in designs. Reserved decoration is the most typical among the embellishing methods of Cizhou wares, which was borrowed from the design philosophy of the windowing in the classical garden architectures of China, innovatively adopted the enframement technique of the traditional garden scenery on the ceramic embellishment, integrating the designing concepts from the different fields of architecture and ceramics, representing the thick cultural atmosphere and artistic creation among the all social strata of the Song Dynasty.