Small Geyao vessels of the Song period are extremely rare. However, a similar, slightly overfired, waterpot, was sold in these Rooms, 13 January 1987, lot 570 (see fig. 1). Both these waterpots appear to be the only ones of this exact shape and size. Compare with a Geyao jar of almost this same size (7.8 cm. high) potted with a tapered body and a slightly more prominent lipped mouthrim, illustrated in Porcelain of the Song Dynasty, part II, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1996, p. 51, no. 45. Compare also two small vessels of Guan-type glaze, the first of a spherical body and raised on three short splayed legs, illustrated in Mayuyama Seventy Years, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1976, p. 161, no. 467 (7.3 cm. high); and the other of compressed globular shape, illustrated in Chinese Ceramics, Song Yuan Dynasty, Taiwan, 1988, p. 515 (6.8 cm. high).
The lustrous and tactile nature of the Geyao glaze is exquisitely revealed by the simple form of the present vessel. Together with Ding, Jun, Ru and Guan, Ge wares make up the fifth of the 'Five Great Song Wares'. While each of these wares has its own distinctive characteristics, the southern crackle wares of Guan and Ge have retained their mystery and been the subjects of intense research both within China and elsewhere in recent years, bringing these wares to the forefront of interest among scholars and collectors. Both these wares are characterised by their glazes which were deliberately crackled to achieve a fine network of lines over the surface of the vessel. One of the reasons that these crackle lines were admired was that they were reminiscent of the fissures in jade, the most prized of all natural materials.