Porcelain Pillow with the Painting of Warrior Lanling Entering into the Array

According to the experts, the painting on the porcelain pillow is about the ancient people playing the miscellaneous drama of Warrior Lanling defeating and overcoming the enemy. In the painting, some are accompanying with musical instruments, other are dressed with a mask, making various movements like acrobatic chasing and fighting, etc. The Painting of Warrior Lanling Entering into the Arrays related to a famous battle in ancient China. One of the generals who command this battle is Gao Su, Warrior Lanling, of the Northern Qi State during Northern and Southern Dynasties.

This porcelain pillow is the Painting of Warrior Lanling Entering into the Array. The surrounding of this pillow has some raised edges. The pattern of it is white ground with black decoration. The facade is painted with a tiger, while the two blanks are portrayed with a lotus respectively. The facade of pillow is painted with many garden sceneries, such as flowers, grasses, banana leaves, pine trees and rocks from Taihu Lake, etc. Besides, there are 5 figures among them. Two on the left are performing miscellaneous drama. The man in the front wears a hat with raked angles and embroidered robe with flowers. With reacting his two hands, he makes a gesture of running away. The man behind wears a hat with flowers and an armor on his body, with a steel scourge in his hands, running after the out runner quickly. Both of the two persons wear a mask. There are 3 figures on the right side of painting. The female in the middle is sitting on the ground, with ancient Qi on her knees, being absorbed in playing the instrument. On her left there is a little girl standing with a box in her hands. On the right, the woman holding a fan in her hands is sheltering the performer from the sunlight.


Gao Su is also called Changgong. He is the nephew of Gao Yang, an emperor who founded Northern Qi. The time when Gao Su lived is the Northern and Southern Dynasties of China, which lasted from 420 A.D. to 589 A.D. During this time China was in the state of separation. It was formed by the southern regime governed by the Han people and the northern regime mainly governed by ethnic minorities, causing the situation of confronting each other between the northern and southern part. Till the end of Northern Dynasty, the wars of north were mainly between Northern Qi and Northern Zhou. Altogether, the war time lasted for about ten years. In the winter of 564 A.D., Luoyang an important town of Northern Qi, was besieged by hundred thousand of forces of Northern Zhou. The army guarding the city had been in severe starvation, which was imminently dangerous. If Luoyang City fell down, it would directly threaten the survival of Northern Qi regime. The Emperor Wucheng of Northern Qi was very anxious, so he summoned the army throughout the country to rescue the difficult situation of Luoyang. Watching helplessly at the army of Northern Zhou enhancing their offense, the defending troops of Luoyang had become desperate. It was just at this critical moment that a general of te troop of Northern Qi led 500 soldiers to rush at the army of Northern Zhou. However, to people's surprise, he wore a ferocious mask on his face, which made people tremble with fear. This general was extraordinarily brave. Coupled with the horrifying mask on his face, he brought a strong shock toward the heart of enemies. The army of Northern Zhou unexpectedly can not stop him. He rushed to the Gate of Luoyang. At this time, the defending army within the city had become the bird on a wire. Seeing this scene, they suspected there was a cheat and dared not open the gate of city. This brave general immediately picked off his mask. Suddenly, the cheer and laughter of defending troops within the city rose from all the directions, since the general with mask was just Warrior Lanling, a great general of Northern Qi. Later, in every battle he would wear this set of mask. After the defending soldiers realized the general with mask was Warrior Lanling, they opened the gate, together with Warrior Lanling's troops, rushing to enemies' position. The generals and soldiers of Northern Qi, according to the scene of battle composed a song and dance named "Song of Warrior Lanling Entering into the Array". With the mask, all the people danced and sang happily. Later, this song and dance was widely circulated among the folk. Till Sui Dynasty, "Song of Warrior Lanling Entering into the Array" came into the court of Sui Dynasty. In Tang Dynasty, the performances taking legends of Warrior Lanling ad the theme were in a great number. Most of them included songs, dances and dramas. Till Song Dynasty, it even appeared miscellaneous drama about the battle.

The story of Warrior Lanling spread for over a thousand years. In many ancient Chinese literature documents, there were some corresponding records, but the material objects were quite few. The porcelain pillow with Painting of Warrior Lanling Entering into the Array reappeared the scene when the ancient people performing a miscellaneous drama about the Battle of Mangshan Mountain, which had a precious value as for the historical data. According to the experts, this porcelain pillow was made in Cizhou Kiln in Song Dynasty. It represents the top level of production of Chinese porcelain pillows at that time.

In China, the oldest pillow is made from stone. Later, bamboo pillow, wood pillow and copper pillow appeared gradually. However, what preserved most throughout the ages was porcelain pillow. Porcelain pillow was first fired in Sui Dynasty. Since Tang Dynasty, it began to be produced in mass and gradually became the daily necessity favored by people. Porcelain pillow reached its heyday in Song Dynasty, among them,  the products of Cizhou Kiln were the most famous. There were many kidneys in Cizhou Kiln. Porcelain pillows fired in Cizhou Kiln for both quantity and quality, in China at that time, ranked top.

Patterns on porcelain pillows of Song Dynasty are people loved to see and hear.

Porcelain pillow of Song Dynasty combines poetry, calligraphy, paintings and other art forms, or it is a work of art with practical value. This porcelain pillow with the Painting of Warrior Lanling. Entering into the Array still enables people to feel artistic charm of Chinese miscellaneous drama of Song Dynasty after 1000 year.

This porcelain pillow was found in 1976, when a company from Linzhou City, Henan Province, carried out infrastructure construction. When the porcelain pillow was sent to local cultural relics department, experts speculated that it was of Northern Song Dynasty, and should be unearthed in a tomb of Song Dynasty. So the cultural relics department sent some one to the site for survey, but unfortunately the tomb no longer existed.  Porcelain pillow with the Painting of Warrior Lanling Entering into the Array is now collected by Linzhou, administration of Cultural Heritage, Henan Province. In the late twentieth century, it was rated as the national first-level cultural relic in China.

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