A fine and extremely rare early Ming pale celadon-glazed stembowl, Ming dynasty, early 15th century 

Lot 2802. A fine and extremely rare early Ming pale celadon-glazed stembowl, Ming dynasty, early 15th century; 6 in. (15.1 cm.) wide, box. Estimate HKD 1,500,000 - HKD 2,000,000Price realised HKD 4,340,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2010

The bowl potted with steeply rounded flared sides supported on a slightly splayed stem foot, covered overall with a rich sea-green glaze thinning to a pale tone on the rim and pooling on the exterior just below the rim, and above the foot rim.

ProvenancePreviously sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 19 November 1986, lot 215
Greenwald Collection, no. 36 

LiteratureGerald M. Greenwald, The Greenwald Collection, Two Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics, 1996, Catalogue, no. 36 

NoteThe glaze of the present vessel is very thin and pools near the extremities relating closely to the celadon glaze on a covered jar in the Qing Court collection, dated to the Yongle period, illustrated in Monochrome Porcelain, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 135, no. 123 (see fig. 1). A comparable stembowl with a horizontal bow-string on the stem foot, is illustrated, ibid, no. 124 where it is mentioned that vessels of this type was produced during the Yongle period to imitate the celadon colours of earlier Song dynasty Longquan wares. It is possible that a number of these vessels, along with blue and white wares of the same form, were also sent as gifts to the High Lamas of Tibet for use on Buddhist altars, cf. a similarly glazed cup dated to the Yongle period, illustrated in Ming and Qing Dynasties Ceramics Preserved in Tibet Museum, 2004, p. 26. 

A number of similarly shaped monochrome-glazed stembowls execavated from the Xuande stratum at Jingdezhen were included in the exhibition, Xuande Imperial Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1998, no. 52-1, in copper-red glaze; no. 52-2, blue-glazed; no. 52-3, turquoise-blue glazed; and nos. 52-4 and 52-5 are both of 'sky-blue' glaze. Compare with related celadon glaze vessels illustrated in Imperial Porcelain of the Yongle and Xuande Periods, Excavated from the Site of the Ming Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1989, p. 203, no. 60, a celadon bowl with an angular base in imitation of Yuan dynasty Shufu ware; and p. 205, a basin with a lipped mouth rim replicating Longquan ware. 

Christie's. For Imperial Appreciation: Fine Chinese Ceramics from the Greenwald Collection, 1 December 2010, Hong Kong