A RARE CARVED LONGQUAN CELADON VASE AND COVER
A RARE CARVED LONGQUAN CELADON VASE AND COVER

NORTHERN SONG DYNASTY, 11TH-12TH CENTURY

Details
A RARE CARVED LONGQUAN CELADON VASE AND COVER
NORTHERN SONG DYNASTY, 11TH-12TH CENTURY
The vase is sturdily potted with an ovoid body resting on a tall foot. The straight neck is flanked by a pair of small loop handles, surmounted by a grooved mouth below a galleried rim. The body is carved and combed with six panels each enclosing a floral sprig. The domed cover is carved with double lotus petals surmounted by a finial in the form of a lotus pod. They are covered with a crackled olive-green glaze with the exception of the base of the vase.
10 1/2 in. (26.6 cm.) high, Japanese wood box
Provenance
Sorimachi Shigesaku Collection, Tokyo, acquired prior to 1938
Kochukyo, Tokyo
Literature
Tamisuke Yokogawa, Toki zuroku (Illustrated Catalogue of Ceramics), Tokoyo, 1938, vol. 7, p. 43, fig. 53
Christie's, The Classical Age of Chinese Ceramics: An Exhibition of Song Treasures from the Linyushanren Collection, Hong Kong, 2012, pp. 162-163, no. 66
Exhibited
Christie's, The Classical Age of Chinese Ceramics: An Exhibition of Song Treasures from the Linyushanren Collection, Hong Kong, 22 to 27 November 2012; New York, 15 to 20 March 2013; London, 10 to 14 May 2013, Catalogue, no. 66

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Lot Essay

The covered vase with galleried mouth is a typical form of Northern Song Longquan ware. The form has gradually changed from a tall tapering body with long neck in the early Northern Song dynasty to an ovoid body with shorter neck in the late Northern Song dynasty. Meanwhile, the glaze colour developed more olive tone and the carved decoration was often more robust. A similar vase lacking the cover and the loop handles was excavated from a tomb dated to the Yuanfeng reign (1078-1085), illustrated in Zhu Boqian, Longquanyao qingci (Celadons from Longquan Kilns), Taipei, 1998, p. 104, no. 64. Another vase of similar form but lacking the loop handles is in the Qingyuan County Cultural Relics Bureau, illustrated in Zhongguo Longquan qingci (Longquan Celadon of China), Hangzhou, 1998, p. 45. For an earlier example with loop handles and a lotus-like cover but decorated with incised floral patterns, see ibid., p. 46. One usage of Longquan covered vases was revealed by the inscription on one example from the Sir Percival David Collection, London, illustrated by G. St. G. M. Gompertz, Chinese Celadon Wares, London, 1958, fig. 22. The inscription reads “with the prayer that this vessel will hold fragrant wine for hundreds and thousands of years; That I may have a thousand sons and ten thousand grandsons; That they may be wealthy and live long lives; That they may enjoy good fortune and happiness; On the fifteenth day of the nineth month of leap year in the third year of the Yuanfeng period (1080). I have fired this vessel, signed by Liang Yingcheng”. Hence, covered jars of the current type could be used as funerary jars containing offerings such as wine and grains. This practice was a local custom in Southern Zhejiang and Northern Fujian province.

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