A very rare Guan bird feeder, Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)

A very rare Guan bird feeder, Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)

A very rare Guan bird feeder, Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)

Lot 3040. A very rare Guan bird feeder, Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279); 6.2 cm, 2 3/8  in. Estimate 600,000 — 800,000 HKD (63,069 - 84,091 EUR)Lot Sold 1,500,000 HKD. © Sotheby's 2018.

of almost teardrop form, truncated at the narrower end to form a rounded opening, one side of the vessel decorated with a small loop below the rim for suspension, covered overall with a pale greyish-blue glaze glaze suffused with a network of golden-beige crackles, the underside with three delicate spur marks.

Provenance: Collection of the Idemitsu Museum of Art, Tokyo, by repute.
Christie's Hong Kong, 30th April 2001, lot 703.

Note: Guan ware, the fabled ‘official ware’ specially created for the imperial court of the Southern Song in Hangzhou in south China, is characterised by sophisticated simplicity. The exquisite glaze of the current bird feeder was achieved through gradual application of multiple layers, the distinct crackle probably provoked by a well-controlled cooling process after the last firing, giving the whole piece a gem-like appearance, as if carved out of one boulder of a fine jade-like stone.

Song dynasty Guan bird feeders are extremely rare, and only a small number is recorded, including an example illustrated by Rene-Yvon Lefebvre d'Argence, The Hans Popper Collection of Oriental Art, Kodansha International, Tokyo, 1973, no. 127, and another sold at Christie’s New York, 28th October 1977, lot 50. For other closely related Song dynasty ceramic bird feeders, see a pair of Longquan celadon-glazed bird feeders of slightly smaller size, similarly potted with skilfully applied loop handle, included in the exhibition Chinese Art from the Ferris Luboshez Collection, University of Maryland Art Gallery, 1972, cat. no. 119, and sold in our New York rooms, 18th November 1982, lot 85 and again, 16th March 2016, lot 267; and a Longquan guan-type bird feeder sold in our New York rooms, 18th March 2017, lot 1361. 

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A pair of 'Longquan' celadon-glazed birdfeeders, Song - Yuan Dynasty. Width 2 in., 5 cm. Sold at Sotheby's New York, 16th March 2016, lot 267. © Sotheby's 2016.

Cf. my post: A pair of 'Longquan' celadon-glazed birdfeeders, Song - Yuan Dynasty

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A 'Longquan' 'Guan'-type birdfeeder, Song dynasty (960-1279). Width 2 1/4  in., 5.7 cm. Sold for 25,000 USD at Sotheby's New York, 18th March 2017, lot 1361. © Sotheby's 2017.

the bombé body rising from a short tapered foot to a flared rim, flanked by a pair of yoke handles, set with a small lug for attachment to a bird cage, covered overall with a crackled pale greenish-blue glaze, stopping neatly at the foot to reveal the gray stoneware body. Estimate 5,000 — 7,000 USD.

Sotheby's. Curiosity IV, Hong Kong, 02 Apr 2018, 10:30 AM