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Tripod vessel: C.36-1984

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Pottery: Unknown (Probably)




Tripod vessel with dragon design. Stoneware, moulded, with parts attached, and celadon-glazed. The deep almost cylindrical body of this piece ends in a thick everted rim with two small upright handles, and rests on three short legs shaped as paws. The body is divided vertically into three parts, each of which is decorated slightly differently with a sinuous dragon chasing a pearl among waves, in fine relief, crisply and powerfully executed. Around the base is a band of key-fret. The thick and heavy body is of fine clay and is evenly covered with a glossy glaze of pale bluish-green jade colour. The glaze has been wiped from the base of the feet, which were resting on fire-clay supports during firing.


History note: Reputedly presented by Ito Hirobumi, Resident General of Korea, to Prince Ogasawara, who gave it to his god son, Prince Takamatsu, brother of Emperor Hirohito; thereafter in the collection of Hirota Matsushige, and eventually acquired from Kochukyo

Legal notes

Gompertz Gift

Place(s) associated

  • Kangjin-gun ⪼ South Cholla province ⪼ Korea

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1984) by Gompertz, G. St. G. M., Mr and Mrs


12th Century
Koryo Dynasty
Circa 1150 CE - 1200 CE


The shape of this vessel is derived from ancient Chinese bronze ding (tripods), and is generally believed to be an incense burner, but may rather have served as a ceremonial food vessel, because Koryo incense burners invariably have a cover of animal or other sculpted shape.

Components of the work

Glaze composed of celadon glaze
Vessel composed of stoneware Height 13.8 cm
Rim Diameter 12.8 cm

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.36-1984
Primary reference Number: 16190
Old object number: 19
Box number: 19
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 25 February 2022 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Tripod vessel" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-19 10:18:13

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