The firing of the rich persimmon glaze on this vase is particularly successful. Persimmon glazes were made at several northern Chinese kilns in the Song and early Jin periods, including the Ding and Yaozhou kilns, and seem to have been especially admired on vases and forms associated with the tea ceremony. The Gegu yaolun, published in AD 1388, notes that 'purple' (i.e. persimmon) and black Ding were even more expensive than white Ding wares. See Sir Percival David, Chinese Connoisseurship - The Ko Ku Yao Lun, London, 1971, p. 141. Two Ding ware persimmon-glazed vases, now in the Zhenjiang Museum, were excavated in 1974 at Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province from the tomb of Zhang Min, which has been dated from his epitaph to the fourth year of ? ? Xi'ning, equivalent to AD 1071. See Zhongguo taoci quanji - 9 - Dingyao, Shanghai/Tokyo, 1981, no. 58.
The Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums has a persimmon-glazed vase similar to the Zhenjiang excavated examples illustrated by R.D. Mowry, Hare's Fur, Tortoiseshell and Partridge Feathers: Chinese Brown-and Black-glazed Ceramics, 400-1400, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1996, pp. 123-4, no. 24. The National Museum of Korea in Seoul also has a wide-shouldered vase with flattened mouth and pale body, which has this persimmon glaze. See G. Hasebe, Sekai toji zenshu - 12 - Song, Tokyo, 1977, p. 131-2, no. 123, but does not have as truncated a form as this piece. A Ding ware persimmon-glazed vase exhibited in Japan in 1999, which had similar neck shape to the current vase, but similar body profile to the Seoul vase is illustrated in Song Ceramics, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, 1999, p. 78, no. 41. A persimmon vase with slightly longer neck and more tapered body in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum is illustrated by S. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, p. 90, no. 83. While the majority of these Ding ware items with persimmon glaze have a more matte surface than the current vase, one of the bowls included in the Song Ceramics exhibition in Japan in 1999, op. cit., p. 77, no. 40, has a similarly lustrous glaze to that on the vase.
The truncated meiping form of this vase was one that enjoyed a relatively brief period of popularity in the Northern Song and Jin periods. There is a persimmon-glazed truncated meiping in the collection of the Idemitsu Museum of Art, which has a narrower mouth and more rounded shoulders than the current example. See Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1987, pl. 112. The Idemitsu Museum also has a larger black-glazed truncated meiping, which shares a similar profile to the current vase, as well as a slightly longer neck than is seen on many other such pieces. This vase bears an inscribed date equivalent to AD 1119. See Yutaka Mino, Freedom of Clay and Brush through Seven Centuries in Northern China: Tz'u-chou Type Wares, 960-1600 A.D., Bloomington, Indiana, 1980, p. 198, fig. 245. The same collection has a Ding ware truncated meiping with sgraffiato decoration, which has been designated as an Important Cultural Property, Song Ceramics, op. cit., p. 79, no. 42.
The truncated meiping form is most common among ceramics in the Cizhou tradition, and examples with painted and incised designs are in the Kyusei Hakone Art Museum, the Tokyo National Museum and the Sano Museum as illustrated in Freedom of Clay and Brush, op. cit., pp. 198-9, pl. 87, figs. 248 and 249 respectively. A Cizhou truncated meiping with sgraffiato decoration is in the collection of the Itsuo Art Museum, Ikeda, while rust-splashed black ware examples are in the Miyoshi Kinenkan, Ashikaga, and the National Museum of Korea, Seoul published by G. Hasebe, Sekai toji zenshu - 12 - Song, op. cit., p. 240, pl. 231; p. 244, pl. 246; and p. 294, fig. 175, respectively. The current persimmon-glazed example is, however, particularly rare and has an especially fine glaze.
The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminescence test no. P102g42 is consistent with the dating of this lot.