Because its crypt held one of the most sacred relics, a so-called finger bone of the Buddha, the Famen Temple was one of the most important Buddhist temples of the Tang period. The crypt also contained precious objects of gold and silver, some of which can be seen in this exhibition, and rare pieces of green-glazed Yue ware such as these two vessels. With their smooth, glossy, pale-green glaze they are exemplary of the finest mise ("secret-color") Yue ware of the period. The crypt was sealed in 874.
|The austere beauty of this
blossom-shaped dish lies in its delicate contours and
unembellished surfaces. The combination of pristine
whiteness, thin walls, and crisply articulated shape calls
to mind similar dishes made of silver that were enormously
popular during the Tang. Wares inscribed with the character
guan, meaning "official," are not associated with
one dynasty only but have been discovered at sites dated to
the Tang, the Liao, the Five Dynasties, and the Song. We do
not know what special status is indicated by this
inscription. The Huoshaobi site, where these two dishes
were found, has yielded a large cache of over sixty such
pieces, which otherwise are very rare.