A white porcelain lobed ewer, Liao-Northern Song dynasty, 10th-11th century

A white porcelain lobed ewer, Liao-Northern Song dynasty, 10th-11th century © Christie's Image 2003

With deep melon-lobed body rising from the shallow ring foot to the conformingly notched rim of the canted shoulder, the triple-strand strap handle attached to the tall narrow neck opposite a curved handle emerging from the jaws of a dragon head, covered with a finely crackled clear glaze - 8¼in. (20.9cm.) high, box. Lot 238. Estimate $8,000 - $12,000Price Realized $7,170 

Notes: This wine ewer would originally have had a cover and would have sat in a warming basin. Sets of this kind were derived from silver prototypes such as an octagonal silver ewer and warming basin engraved with floral design excavated in 1978 from a hoard found at a Liao dynasty site at Balin Youqi in Ju Ud Meng, Inner Mongolia, illustrated in Zongguo meishu quanji - Gongyi meishu bian, vol. 10, Beijing, 1987, p. 59, nos. 120-121.

Compare the very similar lobed ewer attributed to the Dingyao kilns, also molded with a dragon's head at the base of the spout, illustrated in Sekai toji zenshu - Sung and Liao Dynasties, vol. 10, Tokyo, 1977, no. 78, 

CHRISTIE'S. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART, 18 September 2003, New York, Rockefeller Plaza