A 'Yue' celadon-glazed ram, Western Jin dynasty (265–316)

Lot 407. A 'Yue' celadon-glazed ram, Western Jin dynasty (265–316), 15.5 cm, 6 1/8  in. Estimate 150,000 — 200,000 HKD. Lot sold 250,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's.

modelled recumbent with its legs tucked underneath, its raised head pierced with a circular aperture to the top, applied overall with a greyish-celadon glaze.

NoteModelled as a reclining ram with large protruding eyes, this charming piece belongs to a group of playful vessels made for the scholar’s desk that were produced in kilns in northern Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu province. Vessels of this form have been unearthed from Three Kingdoms and Jin dynasty tombs, suggesting that they were highly treasured by their owners.

A similar ram, unearthed from Shaoxing, Zhejinag province, is illustrated in The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics, vol. 4, Shanghai, 2000, pl. 164, together with two further examples with incised lines on the body, pls 162 and 163; another was included in the exhibition Animal Farm in Yue Ware, Uragami Sōkyu-dō, Tokyo, 1992, cat no. 4, with three incised examples, cat. nos 1-3; and a third was sold in these rooms, 24th November 2014, lot 1025. See also two related rams in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures in the Palace Museum. Porcelain of the Jin and Tang Dynasties, Hong Kong, 1996, pls 30 and 31; and another published in The Tsui Museum of Art. Chinese Ceramics I, Hong Kong, 1991, pl. 58 (left).

Sotheby's. Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 01 Jun 2017