A rare Longquan celadon brush washer, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279

A rare Longquan celadon brush washer, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)

A rare Longquan celadon brush washer, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)

A rare Longquan celadon brush washer, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)

Lot 719. A rare Longquan celadon brush washer, Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). Estimate USD 500,000 - USD 700,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2016.

The brush washer is well potted with the lower body flaring outward from the thin foot ring before rising vertically to the broad, flat, everted rim. It is covered overall with a fine glaze of soft blue-green tone, with the exception of the foot. There is a small area of gold lacquer on the mouth rim. 5 ¾ in. (14.5 cm.) diam., Japanese wood box.

Provenance: The Mr. and Mrs. F. Brodie Lodge Collection; Sotheby’s London, 7 June 1988, lot 175. 
The Robert E. Barron III (1929-2007) Collection, New Orleans, Louisiana; Christie’s New York, 30 March 2005, lot 315. 
Sen Shu Tey, Tokyo.

LiteratureG. St. G.M. Gompertz, Celadon Wares, London, 1968, no. 14B. 
L. Rotondo-McCord and R. D. Mowry, Heaven and Earth Seen Within: Song Ceramics from the Robert Barron Collection, New Orleans, 2000, pp. 134-35, no. 52. 
L. Rotondo-McCord, ‘Song and Jin Period Ceramics from the Collection of Dr. Robert Barron’, Song Ceramics: Art History, Archaeology and Technology, Colloquies on Art and Archaeology in Asia, ed. no. 22. S. Pierson, University of London, Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, June 2003, p. 57, fig. 16, col. pl. 13. 
Sen Shu Tey, The Collection of Chinese Art - Special Exhibition ‘Run Through 10 Years’, Tokyo, 2006, p. 58, no. 69. 
Christie’s, The Classic Age of Chinese Ceramics: An Exhibition of Song Treasures from the Linyushanren Collection, Hong Kong, 2012, pp. 168-169, no. 69

ExhibitedThe Oriental Ceramic Society, London, The Arts of the Sung Dynasty, 1960. 
The New Orleans Museum of Art, Heaven and Earth Seen Within: Song Ceramics from the Robert Barron Collection, 4 March to 18 May 2000The Headley-Whitney Museum, Kentucky, 29 June to August 24, 2000; The Taft Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, 8 December 2000 to19 Feburary 2001; The Elvehjem Museum, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 9 March to 13 May 2001. 
Sen Shu Tey, The Collection of Chinese Art - Special Exhibition ‘Run Through 10 Years’, Tokyo, 2006. 
Christie’s, The Classic Age of Chinese Ceramics: An Exhibition of Song Treasures from the Linyushanren Collection, no. 69, Hong Kong, 22 to 27 November 2012, New York, 15 to 20 March 2013; London, 10 to14 May 2013.

NotesThis brush washer has an especially beautiful glaze, of the soft bluish tone which has traditionally been much prized by connoisseurs. Fine glaze color and texture appear to be a characteristic of the few examples of this particular form of brush washer preserved in museum collections. A slightly larger, but similarly proportioned Longquan brush washer in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated in Porcelain of the National Palace Museum - Lung-ch’üan Ware of the Sung Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1962, p. 61, pls. 18 & 18a. Another Longquan brush washer is illustrated in a leaf from a Qianlong-period album entitled Refined Ceramics of Collected Antiquity, also in the collection of the National Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Obtaining Refined Enjoyment: The Qianlong Emperor’s Taste in Ceramics, Taipei, 2012, pp. 224-25, no. 104. An even larger, but somewhat less successfully proportioned Longquan brush washer from the Qing Court Collection is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, and illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 33 - Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (II), Hong Kong, 1996, p. 145, no. 130. The Beijing brush washer also has a fine bluish glaze, but with some crackle reminiscent of Guan ware. Another larger vessel of this shape, but with a metal rim around its mouth, also in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated, op. cit., p. 12, no. 8. This washer, also from the Qing Court Collection, has a crackled glaze, dark body and was fired on spurs. It has therefore been attributed to the Guan kilns. 

A Longquan brush washer of this form is depicted in an imperial scroll dated by inscription to the sixth year of Yongzheng (1728) in the Percival David Foundation. (Fig. 1The scroll, entitled Guwan tu (Scroll of Antiquities) purports to depict items from the imperial collection. The washer appears to be of similar color to the present vessel and is painted with a crackled glaze. 

1

Fig.1. Handscroll showing Chinese antiquities. Scene 14, 1728, Yongzheng reign, Qing dynasty. Sir Percival David Foundation of Chinese  Art (PDF X01) © Trustees of the British Museum

A glaze similar to that on the current vessel can be seen on another similarly shaped washer in the Percival David Foundation. This Longquan washer has an uncrackled glaze, and a copper band has been applied to its mouth rim, probably to disguise minor damage. See Masterpieces of Chinese Ceramics from the Percival David Collection, Osaka, 1998, p. 53, no. 23. Vessels of similar shape and fine bluish glaze have also been excavated from the Dayao kiln site. See Longquan qingci yanjiu, Zhejiang xian qinggongye ting, 1989, pl. 6, no. 1. Similar Southern Song vessels have also been excavated in Sichuan province. A larger vessel and two smaller washers excavated in 1974 from a Yuan tomb in Yuanyichang, Dongxi, Jianyang county are illustrated in Longquan Celadon - The Sichuan Museum Collection, Macau, 1998, pp. 130-31, no. 36, and pp. 232-33, nos. 97 and 98, respectively. A similar vessel, but with somewhat more sloping sides, is in the Cleveland Museum of Art. See J. Neils (ed.), The World of Ceramics, Masterpieces from the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 1982, p. 105, no. 109.

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