Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery

The Stein Collection

Ceramic Sherd
11th century - 12th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This fragment of the rim of a stoneware bowl has a grey body and transparent, green glaze on either side. The incised decoration shows a combed pattern on the inside, and a plain band on the outside. Greenwares of this type were produced by the Huangbaozhen kilns in Yaozhou (now Tongchuan county), Shaanxi Province, northern China. This bowl was probably made during the Northern Song dynasty, 11th - 12th century AD, and may have reached the site of Ushak-tal, near Karashahr on the northern part of the Silk Road, through trade.

The Victoria and Albert Museum has more than 70 ceramic fragments and fragments of Buddhist sculptures, as well as around 600 ancient and medieval textiles recovered by Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943) during his second expedition (1906-8) into Chinese Central Asia, where he once again visited and excavated sites on the southern Silk Road, before moving eastwards to Dunhuang. At Dunhuang, he studied and excavated the Han-dynasty watchtowers to the north of the town, as well as the Mogao cave temples to the southeast, where he acquired material from the Library Cave. From there he moved on to the northern Silk Road, stopping briefly at Turfan sites but not carrying out any excavations. He made a perilous north-south crossing of the Taklamakan desert in order to hasten to Khotan where he excavated more ancient sites, before finishing off his expedition with surveying in the Kunlun Mountains.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Incised stoneware
Brief Description
Rim sherd of a Yaozhou ware bowl, China.
Physical Description
Fragment of the rim of a stoneware bowl with a grey body and transparent, green glaze on either side. The incised decoration shows a combed pattern on the inside, and a plain band on the outside.
Dimensions
  • Maximum length: 4.45cm
  • Maximum width: 4.13cm
Style
Credit line
Stein Loan Collection. On loan from the Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India. Copyright: Government of India
Object history
Found at the site of Ushak-tal.
Historical context
Ushak-tal lies between Karashahr and Turfan on the northern Silk Road. Stein believed that this section of the road once served as the main line of communication between Turfan and the northern oases of the Tarim Basin. Ushak-tal is the site of a walled enclosure built of layers of stamped clay and brushwood. There Stein found remains of a stable, fragments of pottery and glass, and a copper coin of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). The V&A holds, on loan, in its collection, a fragment of a green-glazed stoneware bowl with incised decoration, which probably dates from the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127 AD).
Production
from Ushak-tal
Subject depicted
Summary
This fragment of the rim of a stoneware bowl has a grey body and transparent, green glaze on either side. The incised decoration shows a combed pattern on the inside, and a plain band on the outside. Greenwares of this type were produced by the Huangbaozhen kilns in Yaozhou (now Tongchuan county), Shaanxi Province, northern China. This bowl was probably made during the Northern Song dynasty, 11th - 12th century AD, and may have reached the site of Ushak-tal, near Karashahr on the northern part of the Silk Road, through trade.



The Victoria and Albert Museum has more than 70 ceramic fragments and fragments of Buddhist sculptures, as well as around 600 ancient and medieval textiles recovered by Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943) during his second expedition (1906-8) into Chinese Central Asia, where he once again visited and excavated sites on the southern Silk Road, before moving eastwards to Dunhuang. At Dunhuang, he studied and excavated the Han-dynasty watchtowers to the north of the town, as well as the Mogao cave temples to the southeast, where he acquired material from the Library Cave. From there he moved on to the northern Silk Road, stopping briefly at Turfan sites but not carrying out any excavations. He made a perilous north-south crossing of the Taklamakan desert in order to hasten to Khotan where he excavated more ancient sites, before finishing off his expedition with surveying in the Kunlun Mountains.
Bibliographic Reference
Stein, Marc Aurel. Serindia: detailed report of explorations in Central Asia and westernmost China. Oxford: Clarendon, 1921, vol. 3, p.1183
Other Number
Ushak-tal.003 - Stein number
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:INDIA.36

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJune 25, 2007
Record URL