The fragments of this reconstructed white porcelain bottle were recovered in 1965 from an undisturbed waste pit in Fustat (Old Cairo), Egypt. The bottle has a bamboo-like stem neck supporting a dish-shaped mouth, a circular band surrounding the shoulder, four pairs of sharp vertical ribs around the body, and a flared foot with a recessed, unglazed flat bottom. In material and style the bottle is comparable to Ding kiln type porcelains of the Liao dynasty found in areas near Beijing and Liaoning province in northern China. Among numerous Chinese green-glazed stoneware fragments also recovered at Fustat, this porcelain example is a rarity. With the Liao occupying northern China and the Song dynasty the south, it is possible that this bottle traveled overland to Egypt along the Liao dominated Silk Route. It may also have traveled via illicit Liao-Song trade to finally reach Egypt along established Song maritime trade routes.

Published References & Reproductions

George T. Scanlon, "Egypt and China: Trade and Imitation," in D.S. Richards, ed., Islam and the Trade of Asia: A Colloquium (Oxford: Bruno Cassirer; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1970), p. 81, pl. 7a.

Mino Yutaka, Ceramics in the Liao Dynasty: North and South of the Great Wall (NY: China Institute in America, 1973), p. 63.

Bo Gyllensvärd, "Recent Finds of Chinese Ceramics at Fostat, I," Bulletin Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm no. 45 (1973), p. 107, fig. 50.

Ma Wenkuan, "Liaomu Liao ta chutu di yisilan boli: jian tan Liao yu yisilan shijie di guanxi," Kaogu no. 323 (1994:8), pl. 8-4.

Julie Emerson, Jennifer Chen, and Mimi Gardner Gates, Porcelain Stories: From China to Europe (Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 2000), pp. 80, 81, pl. 6.6 (color illus.).

George T. Scanlon, "Some Chinese Anomalies from Fustat," Bulletin of the American Research Center in Egypt no. 182 (Spring/summer 2002), 34-35 (color illus.).


"Ceramics in the Liao Period"
China House Gallery, New York, Spring 1973.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1975–76.

PUAM, Asian galleries, 3/4/96–12/20/99.

"Porcelain Stories: From China to Europe"
Seattle Art Museum, 2/17–5/7/00