A 'Yue' celadon-glazed ram, Western Jin dynasty (285-316)

Lot 68. A 'Yue' celadon-glazed ram, Western Jin dynasty (285-316); 18 cm, 7 1/8  in. Estimate 30,000 — 40,000 GBP. Lot Sold 50,000 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's 2018.

the recumbent animal with its legs tucked under its body, its head slightly raised and its wide bulging eyes in an alert expression, the horns and fur to the face and between the fore and hind legs picked out with incised lines, covered in a celadon crackled glaze, pooling to a darker tone at the recessed areas.

Provenance: Acquired in Hong Kong, December 1994.

Note: Modelled as a recumbent ram resting upon its tucked-in hind legs and kneeling forelegs, 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 (220-265) and Jin (265-420) dynasty tombs, suggesting that they were highly treasured by their owners.

Compare two similar 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; one in The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, published in The Tsui Museum of Art. Chinese Ceramics I. Neolithic to Liao., Hong Kong, 1991, pl. 58; another from the collection of Sir Alan and Lady Barlow and now preserved in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, illustrated in Michael Sullivan, Chinese Ceramics, Bronzes and Jades in the collection of Sir Alan and Lady Barlow, London, 1963, pl. 71a; a similar ram illustrated in Zhongguo taoci quanji/The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics, vol. 4, Shanghai, 2000, pl. 163, together with an example without incised lines on the body, excavated from Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, pl. 164; and three additional examples, included in the exhibition Animal Farm in Yue Ware, Uragami Sōkyu-dō, Tokyo, 1992, cat. nos 1 to 3.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, London, 16 may 2018, 10:30 AM