A very rare Cizhou-type black and russet 'partridge feather'-glazed vase, Northern Song-Jin dynasty, 12th century

Lot 1306. A very rare Cizhou-type black and russet 'partridge feather'-glazed vase, Northern Song-Jin dynasty, 12th century. Estimate USD 60,000 - USD 80,000. Photo: Christie's Image Ltd 2016.

The vase is covered with a lustrous blackish-brown glaze liberally splashed in russet with 'partridge feather mottles' that falls in an irregular line above the spreading foot to expose the pale grey body. 11 in. (28 cm.) high

ProvenanceMrs. C. P. Wilson Collection.
Warren E. Cox, New York.

LiteratureWarren E. Cox, The Book of Pottery and Porcelain, vol. I, New York, 1944, p. 181, pl. 54.

NotesThe bold russet splashes accenting the blackish-brown glaze on this exceptional vase are often referred to as zhegu ban, or ‘partridge-feather mottles’. In his discussion of a russet-splashed black-glazed meiping in the Art Institute of Chicago, R. D. Mowry in Hare's Fur, Tortoiseshell, and Partridge Feathers: Chinese Brown- and Black-Glazed Ceramics, 400-1400, Harvard University Art Museums, 1996, pp. 137-8, no. 35, notes that the "term, zhegu ban (partridge-feather mottles) appears in texts of the mid-tenth century to describe ceramics with mottled decoration." He further notes that the larger "partridge-feather mottles", of the type seen on the Chicago meiping and the present vase "began to appear in dark-glazed Cizhou-type wares in the eleventh century".

Although vases of this distinctive shape, with trumpet-shaped neck and rolled mouth rim, are known in Cizhou wares, such as the cream-glazed example from the collection of Robert E. Barron III, M.D sold in at Christie’s New York, 30 March 2005, lot 284, black-glazed examples with russet splashes are extremely rare. A very similar vase of comparable height (11 1/8 in.), from the Alfred Schoenlicht Collection, was sold at Christie's New York, 20 September 2002, lot 288, and another of smaller size (21 cm.) is illustrated in Mayuyama, Seventy Years, Vol. 1, Tokyo, 1976, p. 189, pl. 563

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 16 September 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza