A Jizhou tortoiseshell-glazed tea bowl, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)

A Jizhou tortoiseshell-glazed tea bowl, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)© Christie's Image 2003

The flared sides rounding upwards just below the finger-grooved rim, covered inside and out with a dark brown glaze splashed in buff with bluish-white suffusions falling to just above the foot - 5in. (12.7cm.) diam. Lot 253. Estimate $5,000 - $6,000Price Realized $6,573 

Provenance: Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 5 November 1996, lot 735. 

Property from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Breece III

Notes: The remarkable glaze seen on this bowl was an innovation of the pioneering potters at the Jizhou kilns in Jiangxi province. Known as 'tortoiseshell' glaze, its name was derived supposedly from its similarity to the shell of a warm-water sea turtle known as the hawksbill. Compare two similar 'tortoiseshell'-glazed conical bowls, the first from the Charles B. Hoyt Collection, and now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, vol. 10, Tokyo, 1980, no. 172; the second illustrated in Song Ceramics from the Kwan Collection, Hong Kong, 1994, no. 170.

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