The characters for "palace" and "south" are scratched into the white glaze on the vessel's shoulder, suggesting that it was once kept in a specific location in a palace.
Appreciated for its strong profile, brilliant blue color, and firm delineation of the decorative patterns, this jar is a classic example of Yuan dynasty blue-and-white ware. This type of ware was produced no later than 1330s for both domestic use (the court and common people alike) and overseas trade. This example testifies to the transmission of artistic ideas and techniques between China and the rest of the great Mongol Empire as a result of trade. The cobalt that was used as blue colorant for underglaze decoration was imported from Iran, likely from Kashan. The band of cloud-collar motifs with phoenixes set against floral grounds, as shown here, is an artistic vocabulary that can also be found in Iranian decorative arts of the Ilkhanid period (1256–1353).
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