Vase with Dragonfish Handles

Period: Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)

Date: 12th–13th century

Culture: China

Medium: Porcelain with relief decoration under celadon glaze (Longquan ware)

Dimensions: H. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Bequest of Mary Stillman Harkness, 1950

Accession Number: 50.145.301


Vases of this type were especially popular in Japan, where they were sometimes used in the tea ceremony. The vase’s form, known as a mallet shape, can be traced to glass vessels produced in Syria in the ninth and tenth century and was most likely introduced to China at around that time. The fanciful handles are a Chinese addition.