Lot 26. A large green-glazed pottery jar, Warring States Period (475-221 BC); 42cm (16 1/2in) diam. Estimate £6,000 - 10,000. Sold for £ 7,500 (€ 8,615). © Bonhams.
Finely potted with a compressed globular body raised on a tapering foot, moulded with a band of raised vertical ribs around the body, rising to a high shoulder decorated with a similar band of raised ribs encircling a short rim flanked by a pair of taotie masks holding loose rings, covered overall by a thin pale olive green glaze.
Provenance: Stephen K.C. Lo, Hong Kong
Jean-Yves Ollivier Collection.
Note: Based on the glassy glaze of the present lot, this jar was probably fired in a dragon kiln in south China. The glaze in most cases was applied by the dipping method, which could be proved by the swag-like contour to its lower belly. The form of this jar is thought to have originated from bronze vessels such as the lei, as a substitute for more expensive bronze ware used for burial practices.
The vertical ribs on the body appear to have been inspired by motifs found on bronze vessels as well. Compare with the ribbed body of a bronze gui, Western Zhou dynasty, Lot 23 in this catalogue.
Animal-mask ornaments were very popular from the Warring States period to the Han dynasty, and were executed on various media including bronze, lacquer and pottery. On the shoulders, two modelled taotie mask fittings are applied to imitate a bronze example which was usually attached to lacquer ware as lug handles. Compare with a pair of silver taotie mask fittings, late Eastern Zhou or Warring States, in this catalogue, Lot 2.
A very similar pottery jar, Warring States, is illustrated in 'Highlights of Chinese Ceramics', The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Fall 1975, p.33, no.3. Compare also with another pottery jar in the Shanghai Museum, of which the lugs are in the form of loop handles instead of taotie masks, illustrated by Liu Liang-yu, Early Wares: Prehistoric to tenth century, Taipei, 1991, p.83. A third jar of similar shape but with different handles is illustrated by Wang Tao, Mirroring China's Past, Chicago, 2018, pl.8.
The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminescence test no.P118j35, dated 1 August 2018, is consistent with the dating of this lot.
Bonhams. The Ollivier Collection of Early Chinese Art, London, 8 Nov 2018