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Soft-Paste Ge Ware (Ko Ware)

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Author Topic: Soft-Paste Ge Ware (Ko Ware)  (Read 522 times)
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« on: February 24, 2013, 09:19:34 pm »

This is a reestablishment of a thread that was lost-

Ge Ware (Wade-Giles: ko), literally means 'big-brother' ware, because legend has it that of two brothers working in Longquan, one made the typical celadon style ceramics, but the elder made ge ware, produced in his private kiln. Ming commentator, Gao Lian claims that the ge kiln took its clay from the same site as Guan ware, which is what accounts for the difficulty in distinguishing one from the other (though Gao thinks "Ge is distinctly inferior" to Guan).  Overall, Ge remains somewhat elusive, but basically comprises two types—one with a ‘warm rice-yellow glaze and two sets of crackles, a more prominent set of darker color interspersed with a finer set of reddish lines (called chin-ssu t’ieh-hsien or ‘golden floss and iron threads’, which can just faintly be detected on this bowl: The other Ge ware is much like Guan ware, with grayish glaze and one set of crackles. Once thought to have only been manufactured alongside Longquan celadon, per its legendary founding, Ge is now believed to have also been produced at Jingdezhen.

Porcelain: Soft-Paste Ge Ware (Ko Ware)             
This bottle comprises one of the two types of Ge Ware (or Ko ware), a fine warm rice-yellow crackle glaze set off by reddish lines (called chin-ssu t’ieh-hsien or ‘golden floss and iron threads’).  Surface design is an over glaze black, mat, finish enamel.  Stands just 2 7/8 inches (7.3cm) high with stopper.  Stopper is finely striated yellow glass with polished ivory spoon.   19th Century (ca. 1800-1860).  Still a faint hint of aromatic snuff when placed near nose.  Provenance: Harriet Morse Hamilton Collection, Lot P-60 of ‘Oriental Snuff Bottles’, a book Ms. Hamilton published in the 1970’s of a portion of her collection.

The Motif-Marsha Vargas Handley, the San Francisco dealer from whom it was purchased, thought the designs were of Chinese lanterns.   I was thinking banner flags, or old bronze panel motifs, or even old parchment designs.  A Comment by Tom B. (Snuff Bottle Forum, 01/2012): Thank you for showing such a rare and beautiful "jin si tie xian" (gold thread and iron wire) Ge type snuff bottle.  Judging by the excellent quality of the paste and the control of the crackle, I think that there is a good chance that it was made at the Guan yao or Official kiln often referred to as the Imperial kiln. The decoration is certainly Neolithic pictograms of some sort.  The following turned up in a short search of the terms:

The common consensus is that writing in China evolved from earlier non-linguistic symbolic systems. During the Late Neolithic period, at the latter half of the 3rd millenum BCE, many symbols or "pictograms" started to be incised on pottery and jades. These symbols are thought to be family or clan emblems that identify the ownership or provenance of the pottery or jades. 

Now another explaination of the Motif/Design- The design (1st picture) is that of Dzi beads in a rectangular amulet form likely worn on a garment or as a wrist band.  These beads were likely sewn or tied onto a piece of cloth or leather. The second is presumed to be a archaic phoenix design, again sewn onto cloth or etched into leather as a amulet.  The third is an archaic cicada and some other bird design on a amulet.

Dzi bead (pronounced "zee"; alternative spelling: gzi) is a type of stone bead of uncertain origin worn as part of a necklace and sometimes as a bracelet. In several Asian cultures, including that of Tibet, the bead is considered to provide positive spiritual benefit. These beads are generally prized as protective amulets and are sometimes ground up into a powder to be used in traditional Tibetan medicine. Beads subject to this process have small "dig marks" where a portion of the bead has been scraped or shaved away to be ground into the medicine.

The most highly prized dzi beads are those of ancient age, made of natural agate. It is a mystery were where these beads originated. While the traditional, ancient-style beads are greatly preferred, new modern-made dzi are gaining popularity amongst Tibetans.

At some point in time I hope to get some resolution/conformation on the unique design, Charll

« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 01:58:11 am by Bottle Guy » Report Spam   Logged

Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 02:03:41 am »

This is a reestablishment of a thread that was lost-

I remember that topic... Very strange that I can not find it either...

Charll, I really enjoy and learn so much from your posts..  Thank you for taking the time to share this with us, and also for taking the time to repost from the lost topic..

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