Basin With Barbed, Foliate Rim And Three Cloud-Scroll Feet
profile © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Basin with Barbed, Foliate Rim and Three Cloud-Scroll Feet
Work Type
probably 15th century
Creation Place: East Asia, China, Henan province
Ming dynasty, 1368-1644
Physical Descriptions
Numbered Jun ware: light gray stoneware with variegated purple and blue glaze; with Chinese numeral 3 inscribed into base
max.: H. 7.2 × W. 23 × D. 22.8 cm (2 13/16 × 9 1/16 × 9 in.)
base: Diam. 14.2 cm (5 9/16 in.)
weight: 1067.9 g
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: inscribed into base before firing: 三 san (three)
Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane, Brookline, MA (by 1942), gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1942.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Label Text: 32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean , written 2014
This exquisitely shaped and glazed flowerpot and basin set was probably intended for a small, ornamental tree. “Numbered Jun wares,” as they are called, have a Chinese numeral stamped into their bases before firing to indicate size and to facilitate the matching of pot to basin. Numbers range from one to ten, with one the largest and ten the smallest. The Chinese numeral three on the base of each of these vessels indicates their relatively large size.
The blue glaze on traditional Jun ware of the Song dynasty (960–1279) was sometimes enlivened with splashes of purple, as can be seen on several pieces in a nearby case. Although numbered Jun flowerpots were once believed to be contemporaneous with traditional Jun wares, many scholars are now convinced that the extensive use of purple and the reliance on double-faced press-molds to form their distinctive shapes in fact indicate a fifteenth-century date of manufacture. In the eighteenth century, numbered Jun wares were collected and used in the imperial palace; inscriptions carved into the bases of selected examples identified them as palace property. The Harvard Art Museums boast approximately sixty numbered Jun wares, including fourteen with palace inscriptions.

Publication History

James Cuno, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, Harvard University Art Museums/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), pp. 58-59

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 55

Exhibition History

Later Chinese and Japanese Figure Painting in Decorative Arts, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/22/1992 - 06/07/1992

Transformations: Asia East and West, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/19/1992 - 02/14/1993

Rocks, Mountains, Landscapes and Gardens: The Essence of East Asian Painting ('04), Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 01/31/2004 - 08/01/2004

A Compelling Legacy: Masterworks of East Asian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/24/2004 - 03/20/2005

Forging the New: East Asian Painting in the Twentieth Century, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/03/2005 - 10/16/2005

Downtime, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/28/2007 - 04/20/2008

Re-View: S228-230 Arts of Asia, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/31/2008 - 11/23/2008

Re-View: S228-230 (Asian rotation: 6), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/24/2011 - 11/12/2011

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 05/31/2015; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/04/2015 - 11/29/2015

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at