Cizhou pillows decorated in the sancai palette with a figural scene from the Jin dynasty are rare, although one, originally attributed to the Song dynasty but now to the Jin dynasty, decorated with a scene of Xiaohe chasing Hanxin under the moonlight, excavated from the Fangshang district, Beijing, and now in the Capital Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Shoudu bowuguan cangci xuan [Collection of Ceramics in the Capital Museum], Beijing, 1991, pl. 26; and a smaller pillow, decorated with two floral roundels in the central band, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is published in Rose Kerr, Song Dynasty Ceramics, London, 2004, pl. 71. See also two sancai pillows attributed to the thirteenth century, one depicting three ducks and the other with a flying bird, from the Yeung Wing Tak Collection, included in the Exhibition of Chinese Ceramic Pillows from Yeung Wing Tak Collection, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, 1984, cat nos 116 and 117.
The two verses painted on each end of the pillow are derived from a five-character ‘regulated’ classic, Chou liuyuanwai jianji by Yan Wei, a poet from the Jiangnan region active during the Dali reign (c. 766-779) the Tang dynasty. It may be translated as:
In the spring, the willow pond fills up
The sun sets late so the blossoms stay open for longer.
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