A molded Yaozhou deep bowl, Northern Song dynasty, 11th-12th century


Lot 703. A molded Yaozhou deep bowl, Northern Song dynasty, 11th-12th century;6 in. (15.5 cm.) diamEstimate USD 12,000 - USD 18,000. Price realised USD 12,500© Christie's Image Ltd 2016

The bowl is molded on the interior with full-face blossoms alternating with blossoms in profile borne on a leafy meandering vine surrounding two blossoms borne on an ‘S’-shaped stem in the center, and the exterior is carved with simplified petals rising to the slightly everted rim. The bowl is covered overall with a glaze of attractive olive-green color, Japanese wood box.

Notes: Floral scroll designs were popular motifs on Northern Song Yaozhou wares. Early on, such designs were executed by a labor-intensive carving technique. The designs were carved at an angle, and as the glaze pooled in the recesses it produced an almost dichromatic effect, giving a sense of depth to the design. Later, impressed or molded techniques were introduced at the Yaozhou kilns, and the molded designs, such as that on the present bowl, achieved an effect similar to carved decoration and greatly improved the efficiency of production. 

A pottery mold of this particular design is in the collection of the Shanghai Museum, and is illustrated in Zhongguo taoci quanji(Compendium of Chinese Ceramics), vol. 10: Yaozhou ware, Tokyo, 1985, no. 72. A smaller Yaozhou celadon bowl with a closely related design, in the Tokyo National Museum, is illustrated in The Masterpieces of Yaozhou Ware, Tokyo, 1997, p.46, no. 58. 

Christie's. The Classic Age of Chinese Ceramics: The Linyushanren Collection, Part II, 15 September 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza