Tiger Pillow
On View In:
Gallery 204
Artist:   Artist Unknown  
Title:   Tiger Pillow  
Date:   late 12th century  
Medium:   Tz'u-chou ware Stoneware with black and tan glaze over a white slip under a clear glaze  
Dimensions:   4 7/8 x 14 7/8 x 7 in. (12.38 x 37.78 x 17.78 cm)  
Credit Line:   Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton  
Location:   Gallery 204  

This amusing pillow is modeled in the form of a crouching tiger, with head upturned and fangs bared. The body is covered with amber-orange glaze, which, in turn, is painted with lively black stripes imparting a naturalistic look and rhythmic flare. The top of the headrest is painted with a central medallion encircling a butterfly hovering above an orchid and lotus leaf, all flanked with floral sprays.

The earliest dates inscribed on tiger-form pillows are from the Chin dynasty (1115-1234) and the theme itself may be derived from paintings of tigers, which were popular throughout the Sung period (960-1279). This type of two-color (tan and black) slip painted decoration is one of over twenty decorative techniques developed at the several Tz'u-chou kilns of North China. This marvelous example is exceptionally well preserved.

Object Description  
Classification:   Ceramics  
Physical Description:   ceramic pillow shaped like a reclining tiger with tail against PR side of body; flat top section decorated with floral designs and insect; brown and orange glaze  
Creation Place:   Asia, China, , ,  
Accession #:   2000.89.1  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts