A 'Lingwu' black-glazed sgraffito meiping, Xixia dynasty

 Lot 55. A 'Lingwu' black-glazed sgraffito meiping, Xixia dynasty (1038-1227); 30.5cm., 12in. Estimate 20,000 — 30,000 GBP. Lot Sold 23,750 GBPPhoto courtesy Sotheby's 2009

finely potted of meiping form, the rounded sides rising from the flared foot to the short neck and wedge-shaped flanged mouth, applied all over with a thick lustrous brown slip, deftly carved through in sgraffitotechnique to reveal an underlying design highlighted in a golden-brown tone, a broad band of peony designs against a finely combed background, above a band of thick interlocking plantain leaves at the foot and a narrower band at the shoulder, the glazed base incised with a three-character inscription, the first character reading mao (possibly a name).

Provenance: Sotheby's London, 12th November 2003, lot 69.

ExhibitedSong Ceramics from the Kwan Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1994, cat. no. 196.

Note: Brown-glazed vessels with this kind of large-scale sgraffito decoration on a hatched background have been discovered at the 'Lingwu' kiln sites in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, attributed to the Xixia and Yuan dynasties. See Ancient  Porcelain Kilns at Lingwu, Ningxia, Beijing, 1988, passim. Another very similar meiping is illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 1, London, 1994, pl. 451.

Compare also a related vessel from the Yokogawa collection published in the Illustrated Catalogues of Tokyo National Museum, Chinese Ceramics, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1988, cat. no. 629, together with a sgraffito decorated bottle vase of this type, from the same collection, cat. no. 630. 

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, London, 04 Nov 2009