A FINE NUMBERED JUNYAO 'NARCISSUS' BOWL, GUTING SHUIXIAN PEN

SONG DYNASTY

Details
A FINE NUMBERED JUNYAO 'NARCISSUS' BOWL, GUTING SHUIXIAN PEN
song dynasty
The circular bowl with shallow rounded sides, the exterior with two raised bands enclosing evenly spaced 'drum-nail' bosses at the rim and another row of bosses above the foot, supported on three ruyi feet, covered overall with an opalescent streaked purple-lavender glaze, thinning towards the rim and raised decoration, the base wiped clean of glaze and incised with the numeral wu (five), small chips repaired
8.1/8 in. (20.6 cm.) diam.

Lot Essay

Bulb or 'narcissus' bowls were made at the Junzhou factories for the Song court. The bases of these Imperial Jun wares were typically covered in a wash of olive-brown glaze and were almost always incised with a numeral ranging from 1 - 10, which are thought to refer to their size: the larger the number, the smaller the size of the vessel. It is interesting to note, however, that far fewer of the smaller vessels, i.e. those with higher numbers, are known to exist.

A bowl of this size from the Avery Brundage Collection in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is illustrated by M. Tregear, op.cit., 1982, pl.147, together with a slightly larger bowl (numbered 4) in the Tokyo National Museum on pl.171. Three similar bowls are in London collections: one in the Percival David Foundation (numbered 7) illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, 1982, vol.6, no.51; a second (numbered 7) is illustrated by John Ayers, Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1980, no.103; and the third is in the British Museum, illustrated by R.L. Hobson, Handbook of the Pottery and Porcelain of the Far East, 1948, pl.VIII, fig.41. Several similar examples from the Palace Museum, Beijing, are illustrated, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1996, vol.32, colour pls. 24-28; and others from the National Palace Museum, Taibei, are included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Sung Dynasty Porcelain, 1973, pls.64-67. Fragments of several bowls of this form from the Jun ware kiln sites at Baguadong, Yuxian, Henan, with different numerals incised on the base, were included in the O.C.S. Exhibition, Kiln Sites of Ancient China, 1980, Catalogue nos. 394-397.

A particularly fine example of this type (numbered 4) is in the Robert Chang Collection and was exhibited in Christie's London, 2 - 14 June 1993, Catalogue no.6. Two other bowls, from the Samuel T. Peters Collection, nos. 214 and 823, were sold in our New York Rooms, 23 June 1982, lots 47 and 48; a third was sold in the same Rooms, 2 December 1985, lot 199; and a fourth example, formerly in the Eumorfopoulos Collection, was sold in these Rooms, 15 June 1998, lot 86.
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