A green-glazed pottery flask, Liao dynasty (AD 907-1125)

Lot 761. A green-glazed pottery flask, Liao dynasty (AD 907-1125);14 in. (35.6 cm.) high. Estimate $4,000 – $6,000. Price Realized $5,000. © Christie’s Image Ltd 2014

The tall, pouch-shaped body tapers to a pinched neck and is applied with nine bosses below a rope-twist handle and cylindrical spout from which trail three slender straps. The flask is covered with a bright green glaze over a white slip falling short of the splayed foot to expose the pale buff ware.

Property from the Collection of James E. Breece III

Note: Vessels of this type were derived from nomadic leather pouches. A very similar flask is illustrated by R. Krahl in The Anthony de Rothschild Collection of Chinese Ceramics, The Eranda Foundation, vol. 1, 1996, pp. 50-51, no. 27, and another in the National Trust, Ascott Collection is illustrated by M. Medley, T'ang Pottery and Porcelain, London, 1981, p. 131, no. 125.

A Cizhou-type carved dark brown-glazed meiping, Jin dynasty, possibly Xixia Kingdom, 12th-early 13th century

Lot 762. A Cizhou-type carved dark brown-glazed meiping, Jin dynasty, possibly Xixia Kingdom, 12th-early 13th century; 13 in. (33 cm.) high. Estimate $25,000 - USD 35,000. Price Realized $30,000. © Christie’s Image Ltd 2014

The meiping is carved through the dark-brown glaze to the body with two foliate-shaped panels enclosing a peony blossom borne on a leafy branch, and separated by fish swimming in crashing waves.

ProvenanceCyrus and Mildred Churchill Collection, Concordia House, Illinois.
The Concordia House Collection; Sotheby's New York, 19 March 2007, lot 139 (part).

Property from the Collection of James E. Breece III.

Note: The technique used to decorate the present vase, which involved fully glazing the vessel and then cutting away or incising the design through the glaze before firing, was employed at several kilns producing Cizhou-style ceramics in Henan and Shanxi provinces. However, stonewares decorated using the same technique were also made at the kilns to the northwest of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The highpoint of ceramic production in this region was under the Xi Xia or Western Xia (AD 1038-1227), a Tibetan-related people greatly influenced by Chinese culture who allied with the Liao to prevent Song incursion into the their territory. Despite numerous attacks by the Song armies, the Xia Xia remained undefeated until conquered by the invading Mongols in AD 1227.

Three meiping with similar designs of peony sprays in quatrefoil panels set against a ground of undulating waves are illustrated by Hang Tian in Xixia Ceramics, Beijing, 2010, p. 313, no. TB3001.